The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Chautala keeps BJP guessing

Chandigarh, Oct. 29: Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala today said the Indian National Lok Dal would reconsider its support to the BJP-led NDA government if Atal Bihari Vajpayee is not projected as the next Prime Minister in the Lok Sabha polls.

“I have constantly stated that there is no alternative to Vajpayee in the country and no foreigner can become Prime Minister.” Chautala said in a veiled reference to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

“If the BJP does not name Vajpayee… can they stop us from taking our own decision' We are a separate party,” he added.

Chautala welcomed Samata Party leader Nitish Kumar’s suggestion that like-minded parties form a separate group within the NDA. “I welcome the proposal but we would like the Indian National Lok Dal’s separate identity to remain intact. We are contesting the Rajasthan elections with the help of the Shiromani Akali Dal against the Congress as well as the BJP. We will be in a position to dictate terms after the results are declared.”

Chautala said it was too early for him to comment on whether his party would ally with the BJP in the Assembly and parliamentary polls. “At the moment, we are with the BJP. What will happen later is anybody’s guess.”

Sensing early elections and erosion of support in rural areas, the chief minister today announced five projects in health, animal husbandry, irrigation, town and country planning and forests.

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