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June 26, 1999
Tie-up with HVP will be fatal for Cong: Bhajan Lal
Senior Congress leader and former chief minister of Harayana, Bhajan Lal, today warned that any move to merge the Haryana Vikas Party of Bansi Lal with the Congress would prove fatal for the latter. He added that though he was not in favour of supporting the confidence motion moved by Bansi Lal in the Haryana Assembly yesterday ''we cannot disobey Sonia Gandhi.''
The Haryana Vikas Party government led by Bansi Lal last night won the motion of confidence in the state assembly by 22 votes. The test of strength on the floor of the house was necessitated after Bharatiya Janata Party withdrew from the ruling coalition early in the week, bringing the HVP-led government into minority.
Hours before the confidence motion was put to vote, the All India Congress Committee General Secretary, Ahmad Patel, had announced that Congress would support the confidence motion, setting off speculations about the imminent merger of the two parties. Though Patel refused to commit anything on the tie-up, he told reporters that Bansi Lal was scheduled to meet Sonia Gandhi soon.
BJP now claims that it knew all along about the emerging relationship between the Congress and the HVP and that was the reason why it withdrew its support to the government. ''Bansi Lal can go to any extent to remain in power. He had demoralised our patymen and surpassed even Congressmen in singing praise for Sonia Gandhi. Any party that would have any truck with HVP would not be accepted by the electorate,'' said senior BJP leader, Ram Bilas Sharma.
The HVP, meanwhile, has heaved a sigh of relief. Haryana Home Minister Mani Ram Godara thanked Congress for its timely help. ''Congress has supported us to prevent communal and casteist parties from coming to power in Haryana. Though there is no proposal for a tie-up at this stage, a decision will be soon taken in consultation with party workers,'' he said.
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