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HVK Archives: Antipathy towards Congress may force TDP to back BJP

Antipathy towards Congress may force TDP to back BJP - The Times of India

Mahendra Ved ()
March 4, 1998

Title: Antipathy towards Congress may force TDP to back BJP
Author: Mahendra Ved
Publication: The Times of India
Date: March 4, 1998

Winners and losers converged here to engage in parleys for
forming the next government. A subdued BJP leadership anxiously
awaited more results to get to the dominant position that would
guarantee an invitation from the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Its
candidate for prime ministership candidate Atal Behari Vajpayee
described the situation as "pregnant with all kinds of

Assured of support from four-member Haryana Lok Dal, the BJP was
aiming to rope in the dozen-odd Telugu Desam members to get
closer to the magic figure of 273.

The Congress, after a day of despondency, sought to get back into
the game, more because of the good show by alliance partner in
Bihar, Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav. The "moral" stand against a
Congress-UF alliance jockeying to form the next government, taken
on television by party official Jairam Ramesh was shot down by
general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad who contended that those
elected on "anti-BJP" platform were 300 as against 250 of the
BJP. "Non-BJP parties have the mandate," he declared.

The TDP is being wooed by the BJP and indications are that the
former might succumb mainly because of its antipathy towards the
Congress. But CPM general secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet,
playing midwife to a possible Congress-UF government, was
supposed to have "convinced" TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu to stay
put within the UF.

With political stability for !he country as his watch word, Mr
Narayanan is himself understood to be studying various
permutations and combinations whereby he can swear in a
government at the Centre that will last. He is already in touch
with attorney-general Ashok Desai and other experts on
constitutional issues.

Those contacted said their discussion with the President was
privileged, but indicated that that Mr Narayanan was studying
past precedents and the pitfalls that they entail.

Mr Narayanan is believed to be favouring a situation whereby all
those supporting a government are part of it and none has the
freedom and the advantage to pull it down.

Sources say Mr Narayanan would not like to get into a situation
similar to his predecessor Shankar Dayal Sharma after he
installed a government led by Mr Vajpayee. He had to enunciate
the policies of that government during his Address to Parliament
and with in days, the government fell for want of requisite
majority support. Mr Sharma had to read out another Address for
another government, enunciating a different set of policies.

The Vajpayee government was given 13 days to prove his majority.
This time around, the new person invited to form the government
is unlikely to get anything more than a week. The idea behind
this, sources say, is to minimise the chances of horse-trading.

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