The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BJP sights poll gold in no-trust triumph

New Delhi, Aug. 20: The no-confidence battle has spilled out of the Lok Sabha and reached the political landscape.

Regrouping without losing time, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his political council today met to congratulate one another for defeating the no-trust motion last night and chart the next course of action.

At the informal sitting at the Prime Minister’s home, Vajpayee was joined by deputy Prime Minister .K. Advani, finance minister Jaswant Singh and BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu.

The BJP has decided to make the motion and the discussion in the Lok Sabha an issue in the coming Assembly elections. The meeting considered a proposal to launch a nationwide movement to “expose” the Congress’ “failure”, using the motion’s fate as a backdrop.

The finer points of this movement and its modalities will be worked out at a meeting the BJP president will hold with his general secretaries tomorrow.

It was not stated in so many words, but sources said the “movement” could mark the start of the Vajpayee-versus-Sonia battle which, they believe, would dominate the next Lok Sabha polls.

Advani worked on the theme in Punjab today, saying Sonia’s series of charges against the Vajpayee government showed that she was not familiar with the country’s history.

Had the Congress president read the history of the country, she would not have made the accusations, including that democratic institutions were being undermined, Advani told a meeting on the death anniversary of Akali leader Sant Harchand Singh Longowal.

BJP sources said the leaders were of the view that the no-confidence exercise established three factors: the Congress’ “failure” to put the government on the mat despite Sonia Gandhi’s “nine-point chargesheet”, the NDA’s unity and the fissures in the Opposition camp.

Emerging from the meeting, Naidu said there was “a feeling of happiness” over the contribution made by NDA constituents and the unity in the alliance during the debate.

“In the no-trust debate in the Lok Sabha, the NDA has registered a significant triumph. The victory is not just of numbers. It has enabled the NDA to present to Parliament and, thus, to the people, unity and a comprehensive picture of the remarkable achievements of the Vajpayee-led government,” he said.

Naidu said the “disunity” in the Opposition was exposed and Congress’ decision to move a no-confidence motion “has recoiled badly on it”.

The sources said the points which would be highlighted in the campaign are the Congress’ “irresponsibility” as an Opposition party in “moving a motion for no apparent rhyme or reason” and the NDA government’s “achievements”.


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