The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Atal and Aruns in swadeshi line of fire

New Delhi, Feb. 4: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s troubles with the Sangh parivar are far from over.

The Swadeshi Jagran Manch — a parivar affiliate — today renewed its attack on the Centre’s economic policies after lying low for some time. It warned the three As — Atal and the two Aruns (Shourie and Jaitley) who man crucial economic ministries — of an agitation if the government’s anti-people policies are not dropped.

The Manch even demanded disbanding of the disinvestment ministry.

While its ire was mainly directed at Vajpayee, Shourie, the minister for disinvestment, telecommunications and information technology, was next in the line of fire. Jaitley, the minister for law and justice, commerce and industries, was let off with the advice that he should not surrender at the next World Trade Organisation meet. Manch convener Muralidhar Rao, however, did not take their names.

“We must be prepared to quit the WTO if our demand of renegotiations does not get adequate response in the near future,” Rao said, calling for a review of the WTO conditions.

He accused the government of diluting the Doha spirit enunciated by then commerce minister Murasoli Maran and regretted that the DMK leader’s crusade against the WTO regime was not carried forward by the government.

“People who have occupied that ministry is now issuing statements,” he said. Sounding a warning to the commerce minister, he added: “If there is any dilution or deviation at the next meet, we will come to the streets.” Jaitley and agriculture minister Ajit Singh are scheduled to attend the three-day WTO ministerial meet in Tokyo from February 14.

“I am not asking for clarification from Arun Jaitley,” Rao said, asked if he was seeking one from the minister. “I am asking from the highest authority.”

The Manch convener announced a two-month mass mobilisation programme from April 14 that would involve “rath yatras” to expose “dubious”, “deviant” and “diluted policies” of the Vajpayee government. He said the campaign in all states is intended to impact political polarisation on issues like WTO, divestment and unemployment.

Rao said the disinvestment ministry should be disbanded as it has failed to be of any service to the people and added that divestment has become a “big business”.

The National Democratic Alliance government “lacks vision, coherence, consistency, openness and transparency. The recent policy declarations are nowhere nearer to the NDA’s declared objectives”, Rao said.

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