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Govt grapples with tinkering & Tytler

New Delhi, Aug. 9: The Centre has launched an exercise to “modify” the action taken report on the anti-Sikh riots and explore ways to address demands for minister Jagdish Tytler’s scalp to stave off pressure from within the Congress and without.

The search for a compromise came after the Left and the Opposition appeared to shake off their initial hesitation in seeking action against those indicted by the G.T. Nanavati Commission that probed the riots of 1984 in which 4,000 people were killed.

The BJP-led Opposition has vowed to bring a virtual no-confidence motion tomorrow in the House.

The adjournment motion entails voting ' a factor that has landed the Left in a piquant situation. The Left cannot be expected to vote along with the BJP on the motion but neither can it afford to back the government without wresting a face-saver.

Left leaders had assured the government that they would do nothing to put its fate at risk.

However, late in the evening when CPI leader A.B. Bardhan called on CPM chief Prakash Karat, the implications of supporting the government blindly had sunk in.

“How can we be seen as voting with the government on the issue'” a source quoted Karat as asking Bardhan.

The CPI leader then suggested abstention ' which would lower the majority mark and bail the government out without the Left’s votes ' but it was pointed out that such a move could be construed as “escapism”.

Left representatives will meet senior Congress leaders in a bid to work out a solution before the House convenes tomorrow.

Congress sources said the government could announce some amendments to the action taken report, which has largely ruled out fresh steps against politicians and top officials, during the debate in the House tomorrow.

Home minister Shivraj Patil hinted as much today, saying: “Action will be taken wherever necessary and possible.”

The Nanavati Commission had said there is “credible evidence” against Tytler, now minister in charge of NRI affairs.

If the pressure mounts, the government might ease out Tytler, the sources said, but this is unlikely to be done before the House debate. The government would like to defeat the motion first and then pursue changes in the action report which might pave the way for Tytler’s departure, the sources said.

The proposed supplementary report could moot action against Sajjan Kumar, too, another Congress leader who drew adverse observations in the report.

A Congress core group, including Sonia Gandhi, went into a huddle at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s residence tonight.

At stake, it was felt, was also the need to keep the Sikh constituency in Punjab and Delhi behind the Congress. Assembly elections in Punjab are due in early 2007 and in a few months, the party will have to face civic polls in Delhi.

 

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