Only a miracle can save Gujral
Barring a miracle, the United Front government is on its way out.
With the Congress and United Front taking adamant stands on the Dravida Munnetra Kazagham, the ruling coalition appeared reconciled to the fact that it is better to go down fighting rather than succumb to Congress pressure.
As the tough stands sent shock waves across the country, the Congress Working Committee this evening issued a resolution that promised to keep the UF's life-support systems on for a little while longer.
How long? That depends on Congress president Sitaram Kesri. The CWC has resolved that he could take an ''appropriate'' decision on the UF government's fate.
The CWC resolution came as an anti-climax after the Congress had threatened to seal the Gujral government's fate by Thursday evening if the DMK was not shown the door.
Though the UF core group meeting scheduled for tonight has been postponed to tomorrow morning, political circles are intrigued why the Congress has now delayed withdrawal of support to the Gujral government.
A quick recap of the day's developments indicates that the Congress has slightly softened its stand.
Refusing to take part in any parliamentary debate on the issue as long as the DMK shared power with the UF at the Centre, the Congress demanded the immediate ouster of the Tamil Nadu ruling party from the coalition. A formal resolution to this effect was moved this afternoon by the Congress Parliamentary Party, which was chaired by Kesri.
At the post-CPP meeting briefing at 1600 hours, senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee read out portions from the Jain Commission's interim report. The passages blamed the DMK for creating conditions which led to former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's assassination in May 1991.
Mukherjee said the DMK was instrumental in providing a sanctuary to the LTTE besides giving advice, active assistance, finance and providing security cover to its operations. Among the others indicted by the Commission are two former prime ministers V P Singh and Chandra Shekhar.
With most of the UF constituents opposing the Congress demand for the DMK's scalp, there is little possibility of Prime Minister I K Gujral breaking the deadlock.
The fact that the DMK has overwhelming support in the UF is underlined by West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu's denial of yesterday's statement -- that the Tamil Nadu party should support the alliance from outside.
What is more, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today
said the question of DMK ministers quitting the UF government did not arise. There is ''no valid reason for us to resign,'' he said.
Addressing the media, the chief minister asserted
that the DMK was prepared to ''go to the people. Let the people
He lashed out at the Congress for demanding the DMK's ouster from the Gujral government, adding that the move was
Karunanidhi described as ''baseless'' and ''motivated''
the Jain Commission's observations on the alleged nexus
between the DMK and the LTTE.
''It is an indictment of the total population of Tamil Nadu,'' he
Given the hopeless situation, Gujral may well tender his resignation, ensuring that the Congress does not get additional political mileage on the issue.
Summing up the UF mood, a senior Janata Dal leader and UF minister said, ''We have begun packing our bags. That is all I want to say.''
Earlier, the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were adjourned for the day, following noisy scenes created by the Congress.
In the Rajya Sabha, amidst unruly scenes, Congress MPs forced Gujral to table the Jain Commission report and the Action Taken Report.
As soon as the House assembled for the day, Congress members were on their feet, demanding suspension of question hour and immediate tabling of the Commission report.
As the Congress members's shouting and the DMK MPs's counter-shouting continued, the prime minister rose to announce that the report was being tabled in the House. This did not satisfy the Congress, and uproarious scenes continued, forcing Vice-President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Krishna Kant to adjourn the House till tomorrow.
Similar scenes were witnessed in the Lok Sabha, soon after the House assembled in the morning, forcing Speaker Purno A Sangma to adjourn the House till 1400 hours.
When the House reassembled, Congress MPs began shouting slogans against the DMK.
Firebrand Congress MP Mamata Banerjee took the lead in the Lok Sabha, saying, ''The DMK is responsible and should be dropped from the ministry.''
Barring the DMK MPs, other UF constituents watched the furore in silence. So did Bharatiya Janata Party and other members.
Sensing that the Congress was unwilling to relent, Sangma adjourned the House for the day.
UNI and Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
Militant Congress MPs may seal Gujral's fate
UF softening stand on DMK
JPC to bail out Gujral
Reprieve for Gujral
UF parties warn Gujral against dumping DMK
Gujral may face serious trouble: Sonia aides
Congress calls MPs's meet on Jain panel
Gupta takes Congress to task
Kesri's ultimatum shocks UF
UF buys time with denial
Naidu-Moopanar-Karunanidhi meet spurs speculation
UF sits on 'time-bomb'
Govt will ask Jain panel to provide evidence
Jain report will have serious implications: Congress
Jain panel interim report indicts Karunanidhi, V P Singh, Chandra Shekhar
The leaked report does not feature my testimony before the Jain panel, but before another court: R Nagarajan
No action will follow the Jain Commission report: Aladi Aruna
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