The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Advani for conduct leash on CMs

New Delhi, April 23: Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani today put his weight behind the Opposition’s demand for a code of conduct for chief ministers.

“I think it is a good idea to have a code of conduct. I will speak to the Prime Minister about it,” he told the Rajya Sabha during his 40-minute reply to yesterday’s discussion on the functioning of the home ministry.

Two days ago, the entire Opposition in the Lok Sabha had called for a code of conduct following the flurry of charges slapped by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayavati on Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.

“Much has been said about Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal during this debate. I do not want to say anything much except that I support the idea of a code of conduct for chief ministers,” the deputy Prime Minister said.

When Nilotpal Basu, CPM leader in the Rajya Sabha, objected to Advani’s references to Bengal, Advani said: “I have spoken to the West Bengal chief minister. I believe in federalism.”

While the Opposition had demanded the Centre’s intervention in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP and the Trinamul Congress had demanded similar action in Bengal where, they alleged, Opposition candidates were not being allowed to file nominations for panchayat polls by the CPM cadre.

Advani also parried the Opposition charge that the home ministry has failed to effectively check militancy. “We are not depending on any foreign country to combat terrorism,” he said in an oblique reference to the US. “We have enough strength of our own to defeat these forces.”

There is a perception among Opposition parties as well as some of the allies of the BJP that the Centre is relying too much on US’ goodwill to check Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.

“There is no sense of insecurity in our country. Our forces have had some great achievements,” Advani said. Taking a dig at the US, he added: “The United States has gone to war focusing on just two individuals. We, on the other hand, have grappled with a series of attacks and brought the culprits to book within, if not days, weeks.”

On peace talks with Naga insurgent groups, including the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), Advani clarified that he had never suggested that an autonomous region should be created in the Northeast, as alleged by Congress member Kapil Sibal.

“Everybody knows what my views are on this subject. When the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly passed a resolution supporting greater autonomy, we immediately rejected it,” Advani said.

He stressed that the recent polls in Kashmir were a “turning point” for the state. “People of Jammu and Kashmir have started showing trust in the Centre,” he said. “The Congress also has a role to play now in improving the state of affairs in the state.”

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