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19 March: on way to 15th Lok Sabha

19 March: on way to 15th Lok Sabha
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First Published: Thu, Mar 19 2009. 12 45 PM IST
Updated: Mon, Mar 23 2009. 05 13 PM IST
Uma Bharti extends support to BJP
Bhartiya Janashakti Party president Uma Bharti on Thursday met BJP leader L.K. Advani and said it was her “rashtra dharma” (national duty) to support the saffron party and its prime ministerial candidate in the Lok Sabha polls.
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“I have not done any favour to BJP or Advaniji by supporting them. Neither do I want them to feel this support as a favour. I have just fulfilled my duty to the nation. It is my rashtra dharma,” she said.
Bharti, who had formed the Bharytiya Janshakti after being expelled from the BJP, said she would extend “maximum cooperation (to BJP) within my capacity”.
Describing her meeting with Advani as the “homecoming of a daughter,” Bharti said “Advani had always been a father figure for her”.
Asked whether her move was prompted by lack of funds for her party, “I have said before that our party lacks funds to fight elections but let the country debate and tell me whom I should support. It is obviously Lal Krishna Advani who has been the face of the Ayodhya movement.”
She also denied reports of her joining the BJP and insisted that Bhartiya Janshakti party was still in existence.
The meeting comes five years after Bharti stormed out of a party meeting chaired by Advani accusing him of favouring certain leaders.
Bharti said the result of the Lok Sabha polls depends upon the people of the country.
“A lot of changes will take place now but I will not change my words,” she said.
On BJP candidate Varun Gandhi’s anti-Muslim speech, she said, “He is a young and significant leader and should choose his words carefully.”
She attacked Samajwadi Party for making Sanjay Dutt its candidate from Lucknow, saying the actor has faced punishment for links with terrorists. “Those people have no right to comment on Varun”.
— PTI
Third Front can decide on prime minister after polls: Karat
The Third Front need not name its prime ministerial candidate before the Lok Sabha elections because the country does not follow a presidential system as to who should be the leader, the CPI-M has said.
With several possible prime ministerial contenders emerging in the fledgling alliance of Left and regional parties, CPI-M also said no party is barred from making their own “legitimate efforts” to project their leader as prime minister. It, however, said no party can “dictate” to the others as to who should be the prime minister.
“Ours is not a presidential system, a referendum or who should be the leader. The prime minister is one among the equals and in a coalition, particularly when we have a coalition government, I think it depends on the views of the parties,” CPI-M chief Prakash Karat told a news channel when asked whether the Third Front was shying away from projecting a leader for the Lok Sabha elections.
“All coalition partners in the Third Front have their own ideas that their leader should be the prime minister. But it is a matter to be decided after the elections. I think that is the position taken by all the parties which have joined together (in Third Front),” Karat said.
The CPI-M leader said he does not envisage the possibility of him becoming the prime minister in the event of the Left joining any government after the Lok Sabha polls.
Karat also said there is no bitterness with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh though they parted ways after the Left withdrew support to the UPA government, describing his relationship as “political and not a personal one”.
“I don’t envisage such a possibility. But I am not intending to give up the post of general secretary of CPI-M,” the CPI-M general secretary said when asked whether he saw himself becoming the prime minister that could make him the first communist leader to head a government at the Centre.
“I am the general secretary of the party and I have not even fought the parliament election. I don’t think I will fight an election in the future as long as I am the general secretary of the party. A party’s general secretary is not in Parliament,” he said.
On the issue of the CPI-M joining any government, the 62-year-old silver-haired marxist said the party has to first take a decision. “We will cross the bridge after that.”
Asked about the prospects of a UPA-led by Congress regaining power with Left support to keep the BJP-led NDA out of power, Karat said, “We are working to ensure there will be no such government. Infact, our main thrust in our election campaign is to see that the Congress is defeated. So we hope we succeed and we have a non-Congress secular government.”
— PTI
Arun Jaitley meets BJP president
Sulking BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Thursday met party president Rajnath Singh with whom the lawyer-politician is upset over an appointment.
Jaitley drove to the residence of Singh and was with him for about an hour. He did not speak to the media after leaving Singh’s residence.
Jaitley has been sulking and is upset with the BJP chief over appointment of businessman Sudhanshu Mittal as party’s co-convenor of northeast.
Displaying his unhappiness, Jaitley has been boycotting the meetings of the party’s Central Election Committee.
Jaitley has maintained that he would not attend the CEC meetings till Mittal was removed.
Singh, on his part, has ruled out revoking his decision to appoint Mittal.
— PTI
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First Published: Thu, Mar 19 2009. 12 45 PM IST