Militant Congress MPs may seal Gujral's fate
Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral's survival seems difficult.
Congress MPs seem to be in a militant mood, forcing the party leadership to the brink over the Jain Commission report on Rajiv Gandhi's assassination.
Though Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral convinced Congress president Sitaram Kesri yesterday that constituting a Joint Parliamentary Committee would end the controversy, Congress MPs are in no mood to relent. Caught in a cleft stick, Kesri may be forced to withdraw support to the UF government.
The decision may be taken even before the Commission's report is tabled in Parliament tomorrow, Congress spokesman V N Gadgil said on Wednesday.
Gadgil said party MPs were in an aggressive mood and unwilling to make any compromise on the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. They wanted the United Front to drop the Dravida Munnetra Kazagham, the Congress spokesman added.
''Both legal and political action'' is likely to follow once the report is tabled in Parliament, Gadgil said.
Significantly, the Congress Parliamentary Party is meeting tomorrow at 0930 hours. Even the Congress Working Committee will meet tomorrow, he said.
Caught unawares by these rapid political developments, Kesri has little scope for manipulating party MPs. His earlier strategy -- that the fear of a general election would force MPs to toe his line -- has backfired. So did his ploy of buying time by initiating a debate on the Jain Commission report among party MPs.
Kesri may now be browbeaten to pull the rug from under the Gujral government.
He, however, still hopes that the Congress-UF crisis can be resolved with a little tact. This would largely depend on the report filed tonight by Congress general secretaries assigned to assess the party MPs's mood.
Kesri also hopes the Bharatiya Janata Party will move a motion
for a debate on the Commission report under rule 184. In
that eventuality, the Congress would not vote along with the BJP for
the ouster of the Gujral government.
Meanwhile, BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee called on the President, triggering speculation about the future of the Gujral government. The unscheduled meeting lasted 30 minutes. Vajpayee refuused to comment on the discussions, but sources close to him said the talks centered around the "present political crisis."
The BJP believes it must be given a second chance to form a government with the support of Congress defectors. Towards that end, the Akali Dal sought the support of the Asom Gana Parishad and the DMK for a BJP bid for power.
Akali Dal leaders Surjit Singh Barnala and Prem Singh Chandumajra asked AGP and DMK leaders to join the BJP and "bring about political stability in the country." Chandumajra, the party whip in the Lok Sabha, said he would meet Telugu Desam leaders later. "The situation has come to such a pass that either the regional parties rally around the BJP or face a mid-term election," the Akali Dal leader said.
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Congress calls MPs's meet on Jain panel
Gupta takes Congress to task
Kesri's ultimatum shocks UF
UF buys time with denial
Naidu-Moopanar-Karunanidhi meet spurs speculation
UF sits on 'time-bomb'
Govt will ask Jain panel to provide evidence
Jain report will have serious implications: Congress
Jain panel interim report indicts Karunanidhi, V P Singh, Chandra Shekhar
The leaked report does not feature my testimony before the Jain panel, but before another court: R Nagarajan
No action will follow the Jain Commission report: Aladi Aruna
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