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INDEX

1.    TEXT OF PRESIDENT NARAYANAN’S COMMUNIQUE                       ---      [DH   27-04-99]

 

2.    ELECT PM ON FLOOR OF THE HOUSE                                                       ---      [DH,TH,TOI   26-04-99

 

3.    IT’LL BE UNETHICAL IF THE PRESIDENT DOES                                     ---      [SUNDAY   MIDDAY,  25-04-99] 

                                           NOT RE-INVITE VAJPAYEE’                                                                                                                                  

 

4.    SEEK OPIONION OF LOK SABHA; PRESIDENT URGED                         ---      [DH 26-04-99]

 

5.‘  PRESIDENT SHOULD TAKE THE INITIATIVE’                                         ---      [TH 26-04-99]

 

6.   NAIDU AWAITS PRESIDENT’S RESPONSE                                                ---       [TH 24-04-99]

 

7.   ELECT PM ON FLOOR OF THE HOUSE : TDP                                              ---        [TH 25-04-99]

 

8.  HIGH COURT DEMANDS FURTHER ELABORATION                               ---        [The Pioneer    18-5-99]

 

9.  PRESIDENT TURNS DOWN TELUGU DESAM SUGGESTION                 ---          [DH  25-04-99]

 

10.DID SONIA BREAK LAW,  ASKS  BJP                                                        ---          [INDIAN EXPRESS  12-05-99]   

 

 

1.    Text of President Narayanan’s communique [Deccan Herald, 27/04/99]

 

NEW DELHI : -  Following is the text of the presidential communque  dissolving the 12th Lok Sabha.  Consequent on the outcome of the motion of confidence in the council of ministers which was put to vote in the Lok Sabha on April 17,  1999,  Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee, Prime Minister submitted his resignation and that of the council of ministers to the President,  that afternoon.

 

The President accepted the resignation and requested the Prime Minister to continue in office until alternative arrangements were made.  The Speaker met the President later that afternoon and give him the details of the votes cast by each MP.

 

The President  received,  the same afternoon,  a delegation led by Shri George Fernandes,  convener of the coordination committee of the BJP and its allies which put forward its point of view that the President should not appoint a Prime Minister who will not be able to secure a credible majority and will also,  conceivably,  lose the confidence of the House,  becoming head of yet another caretaker Government.  This was followed  up b a letter  from Shri George enclosing a copy fo the resolution adopted at a meeting of the BJP-led alliance partners and parties asserting that the only viable alliance that could be sworn in was that led A.B. Vajpayee.

 

The President began intensive consultations with legal and constitutional experts on April 18,1999.  On April 19,1999 Prof  P.J.  Kurien,  MP met the President and gave him copies of resolutions of the CPP and the CWC authorising Sonia Gandhi on April 20,  1999 inviting her to hold discussions with him the next day.

 

In commencing these consultations,  the President  had two major objectives:  (1)  the need to avoid ordering a midterm election and (2)  the importance of seeing whether a party,  or a combination of parties,  can provide a workable,  viable alternative Government with the prospect of stability for a substantial period of time if not for the remaining term of the twelfth Lok Sabha.

 

After her meeting with the President on April 21,  1999 Sonia Gandhi made a public statement to the effect that the Congress had a total support of 272 MPs and intended to from a Government on its own iwht outside support.  She indicated that,  as required ,  she would contact those parties  and individuals who were supporting the Congress,  obtain letters of support from them,  and would be conveying the outcome of her efforts to the President in two days time.

 

The President’s consultations with legal and constitutional experts including the Attorney General continued meanwhile.  He also held discussions on April 22, 23 and 24,  1999 with the following parties and individuals:

 

Shri H.K.S.  Surjeet,  General Secretary CPI(M) and Shri Jyoti Basu Chief Minister,  West Bengal.

Shri A. B.  Bardhan,  General Secretary,  CPI. Ms J.Jayalaitha,  General Secretary AIADMK. Shri R.S Gavai, MP,  Shri Ramdas Athawale,  MP and prof Jegendra Kawade,  Mp (all of Republican Party of India).

 

Shri Debabrata Biswas,  General Secretary,  Shri Amar Roypradhan and Shri Bir Singh Mahato from All India forward Bloc and Shri Pankajakshan,  General Secretary and Shri Debabrata Bandopadhyay,  Member (central committee) from Revolutionary Socialist Party.  Shri Mulayam Singh Yadav,  President and Shri Amar Singh,  General Secretary,  Samajwadi Party.

 

Ms Mayawati,  Bahujan Samaj Party.  Dr Subramanian Swamy,  Janata Party.  Shri G.K. Moopanar,  President, Tamil Maanila Congress.  Shri Buta Singh,  MP (LS) . Shri Ram Jethmalani,  Minister of Urban Affairs and Employment.  Shri Laloo Prasad Yadav,  President,  Rashtriya Janata Dal.  Shri Sharad Yadav,  President, Janata Dal.

 

The leaders of CPI(M)  and CPI conveyed to the President their unconditional support to the Government led by the Congress.  Leaders of the RPI,  AIADMK,  Janata Party and RJD gave him letters indicating their support to a Government led by the Congress Shri  G.K.  Moopanar  reiterated his party’s support to the idea of a Congress led Government.

 

Shri Mulayam Singh Yadav who called on the President on April,  23,  1999 gave a letter stating that his party comprising 20 MPs would not suport a Government led by the Congress, even as they continued to oppose any Government led by the BJP.   Representatives of the ALL India Forward Bloc and the RSP who met the President reiterated their stand of equidistance  from the Congress and the BJP.

 

Ms Mayawati  conveyed to the President that the Bahujan Samaj party was watching the situation and wold decide at the appropriate time.  Smt.  Sonia Gandhi, who had indicated at her first meeting with the President on April 21,  1999 that she would revert in two days,  called on the President on April 23,  1999 with a list of 233 Mps,  belonging to the Congress and other parties and individuals,  who would extend support for the formation of Congress Government.  It was put to her that the number did  not add up to the requisite strength.

 

Smt Gandhi conveyed to the President that she would continue discussions with parties and individuals who voted against the motion of confidence on April 17, 1999.  She was requested to complete the exercise and convey the outcome therof to the President as early as possible.

 

On April 24,  1999 Shri Sharad Yadav,  President of the Janata Dal conveyed to the President his party’s support to any secular Government at the centre.  Ms Jayalalitha also met the President and apprised him of the efforts being made among the non-BJP parties to arrive at an agreement on an alternative Government of the third front.  The President received a call by  Shri  I.K. Gujral, former Prime Minister, who gave his perpective on the situation.  Shri Chandra Shekhar,  former Prime Minister conveyed his views by telephone.

 

Shri Jaswant Singh,  Minister of Foreign Affairs,  Shri Murasoli Maran (DMK)  and Shri Vaiko (MDMK) called on the President and urged upon him the need for the consultation process to (I) conclude early,  and (II)  include  the claim of the BJP and its allies to be invited.

 

The President informed them that (a) the process of consultations would end shortly,  and (b)  he had an obligation to exhaust the first round of consultations with those who had voted against the motion of confidence on April 17, 1999 and after that,  if those consultations failed to result in an alternative Government, take up the BJP’s  claim.  On Shri Jaswant Singh’s asking if the ruling alliance would be part of the consultation process if they could show accretion of strength,  the President replied in the affirmative.

 

On April 25,  1999 Smt. Gandhi called on the President and informed him that in the further time that she had been given,  she had tried her best but had not been able to make much further progress.  The President said to her that since his search was for a viable Government which could secure a vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha,  inviting the Congress when its support base in the Lok Sabha remained well short of the ruling coalition’s  proven strength of 269,  was out of question.  Smt. Gandhi also informed him that it was the categorical and unanimous view of the Congress Working Committee that it could not support a third front Government.

 

Shri Jyoti Basu,  Shri H.K.S Surjeet  and Shri Sitaram Yechury called on the President and explained the CPI(M)’s stand on the question of an alternative Government and observed that, under the circumstances, no forward movement for a non-BJP led Government was possible.

 

The Prime Minister met the President at 8.40 pm on April 25,  1999. The President conveyed to him that(a) the non-BJP parties had not succeeded in coming up with an alternative and (b) no accretion in the number supporting the BJP-led alliance had been brought to his notice either.  He gave the Prime Minister  his assessment that the Twelfth Lok Sabha was not capable of yielding a Government with a reasonable prospect of stability.

 

The recourse to dissolution on the defeat of a minority /coalition Government arises when it appears to the President that a stable Government cannot be formed without a general election.  Dissolution is indicated if an alternative Government with a working majority which can be expected to carry on for a reasonable period of time is not feasible.  The President informed the Prime Minister that in his perception the dissolution of the Twelfth Lok Sabha had therefore become necessary.  The Prime Minister responded by saying that he would discuss the position in cabinet the following day.

 

The cabinet met at 12 noon on April 26, 1999 and recorded a minute recommending to the President that he may dissolve the Twelfth Lok Sabha so that a fresh mandate could be obtained from the people as early as possible.  The minute converged with the President’s own analysis of the situation.

 

The President could not but observe that the ruling alliance had lost its majority because of a lack of cohesion within its ranks and those who voted out the alliance showed the same lack of cohesion.  In this situation,  the President reached the conclusion that the time had arrived for the democratic will  of the people to be ascertained once again,  so that a Government can be formed which can confidently address the urgent needs of our people.

 

The President has,  by a presidential order,  under sub clause (b) of clause 2 of Article 85 of the Constitution of India dissolved the Twelfth Lok Sabha today.

The official notification in respect to the date for the new Lok Sabha will,  in accordance with the recommendations of the Election commission,  be published in due course.

 

 

2. ELECT PM ON FLOOR OF THE HOUSE

Voice  of  News  Papers  of  India  Dated   26-04-99

SEEK OPIONION OF LOK SABHA; PRESIDENT URGED              [Deccan Herald ]

 

‘PRESIDENT SHOULD TAKE THE INITIATIVE’  :-                   [The Hindu    ] 

 

Seshan, Prominent Citizens urge President to step in.                      [Times of India] 

 

 CHENNAI; Prominent citizens of Chennai, including former Governor of Maharashtra and the fromer chief Election Commissioner T.N. Seshan, who met in the city here on Sunday have urged President K.R. Narayanan to step in to resolve the deadlock in the Lok sabha. The resolution adopted at a public meeting has asked the president to send a message to the Lok Sabha under Article 86 (2) of the Constitution to the effect that it should, in a few days, “convey to the President its opinion as to whether it favours the dissolution of the House and the holding of a fresh election”.

 They suggested that in case the House is “opposed to course”, it should be asked to choose from among the members of either house of parliament to appoint as the Prime Minister.   “In  the absence of unanimity or consensus in this regard the House should hold a formal  election from among those whose names are proposed as per procedure laid down by the Speaker”.  “In the interest of a quick decision, no time should be lost by scheduling a debate on matters pertaining to the compliance by the Lok Sabha with the President’s message in the above respects,” the resolution said.  

It went on to add that in all future instances where a motion of no confidence is brought against a government, it should be made mandatory  for the individual, group or party tabling the motion to indicate in his motion the name of the person who “has the required numerical support to be elected as the next Leader of the House for appointment by the President as the next Prime Minister”.   Mr Subramaniam, who had chaired to meeting, forwarded the resolution to Mr Narayanan. “I hope it will receive your immediate consideration,” he urged Mr. Narayanan in his letter.

 

3. ‘IT WILL BE UNETHICAL IF THE PRESIDENT DOES NOT RE-INVITE VAJPAYEE’
    

[SUNDAY   MIDDAY,  BOMBAY,  25-04-99 edition ]

New Delhi , April 24, 1999 : CLOUDS of suspicion hover over the Raisina Hills as President K.R. Narayanan’s decision to allow Congress President Sonia Gandhi more than 48 hours to put together an alternative arrangement,  is questioned all round.  Observers have been expressing their dismay over the uncertainty,  prevailing in the country for over a week.

 

Leading the critics’ pack is Human Resources Minister Murli Manohar Joshi who has pointed a finger at the first citizen.  Former Secretary General of Lok Sabha Subash Kashyap is going further and holding controversy generated after his orders.  Kashyap dwells on the options available before the President in the present situation.

 

Is it right to question the President or attribute motives to his actions?

 

The President is accountable to the public.  He is first a citizen of India  and then a President.  In a democratic set-up,  people are supreme.  Of course,  the President should be given highest respect.  He should be kept above the controversy by others and he himself should also try and keep away from any controversy.

 

Are you referring to Sonia Gandhi having been given extra time by the President ?

 

Yes, he should not have asked her to continue with the effort.  People are entitled to criticise him.  The whole country is suffering due to the political uncertainty prevailing for a week.  Narayanan has only asked Sonia to complete her consultation process as soon as possible.  This ‘as soon as possible is very ambiguous.  When she failed to muster the requisite number in 48 hours,  the President should have put an end ot it.

 

Is the President not bound to go through all necessary rituals like giving enough time to the leader of the second  largest party?

 

The Vajpayee principles which Narayanan applied before inviting Vajpayee to form the Government should be applied to Sonia Gandhi also.  Why should he go through the rituals?  If he does that, then he will have to give an opportunity to the third largest party also and may be the fourth.  It can come down to one number party like Subramaniam Swamy also.  It will reduce the whole process to a farce.

 

 

If he does not do it,  what other options does Narayanan have at his command?

 

Whoever has the majority (272) should be called in (or recalled)  to form the Government.  Whoever has the numbers, whether it is Vajpayee or Sonia,  should be given a chance to form the government.

 

The second option before him is to tell the Lok Sabha electits leader.  This is the simplest thing and will hardly take a few hours.  If the House fails to elect its leader in one round,  there can be two rounds of voting.

 

If the two above-mentioned directions fail to yield a result,  then the third option is general elections.

 

Was it proper for the President to direct Vajpayee to seek confidence of the House just a day before the House was assembled?

 

The President acceded his jurisdiction that time also by asking for a confidence vote.  It was an unwarranted and illadvised action.  Even a President can make a mistake.  It was a bonafide mistake.

 

Can the President re-invite Vajpayee if the latter rustles up 272 now?

 

Defeat is a point of history.  I am told there are 200 precedents when defeated prime ministers were recalled to form the Government. Whoever has the majority,  whether it’s Sonia or Vajpayee,  should be appointed as the prime minister.

 

Would it not be unethical and immoral to let a defeated PM rule the country again ?

 

On the contrary,  it would be unethical,  improper,  unparliamentary and undemocratic if he does not re-invite Vajpayee,  provided the latter has the numbers.

4.  SEEK OPIONION OF LOK SABHA; PRESIDENT URGED       [Deccan Herald, 26-04-99]

 

CHENNAI; Several prominent personalities from Chennai, including elder statesman C Subramaniam and former chief election commissioner T.N. Seshan, have urged the president to seek the opinion of the Lok Sabha to bring to an end the present political deadlock at the Center.

 

In a resolution adopted at a meeting here, they suggested to President K.R. Narayanan to elicit the opinion of the Lok Sabha as to whether it favored dissolution of the House and holding of fresh polls.

 

In case the House was opposed to such a course, it should be asked to choose from among the members of parliament  a leader for appointment as  The Prime Minister.    “In the absence of unanimity or consensus in this regard, the House should hold a formal election from among those whose names are proposed as per procedure laid down by the speaker,” the resolution said.     

If no candidate secures the majority in the votes cast by those present and voting in the first ballot, a second ballot should be held to enable the house to elect as the leader either of the first two candidates who secure the largest number of votes in the first ballot, it said.      

The resolution, faxed to the President by C Subramaniam, said in the interest of a quick decision, no time should be lost by scheduling a debate no matters pertaining to the compliance by the Lok Sabha with the president’s message in the above respect.

     In all future instances wherein a motion of no-confidence was brought against a government, it should be made mandatory for the individual, group or party tabling the motion to indicate in the motion the name of the person who had the required numerical support to be elected as the next leader of the House for appointment as the next prime minister.

 

 

5.  ‘PRESIDENT SHOULD TAKE THE INITIATIVE’  :-[The Hindu. Date; 26-04-99] 

CHENNAI; APRIL 25. The Lok Sabha should be asked by the President to convey its opinion as to whether it favours dissolution of the House and the holding of a fresh election, a public meeting of prominent citizens held here under the aegis of the Rajaji Centre of Public Affairs resolved. The resolution passed at the meeting, chaired by the former Maharashtra Governor, Mr, C. Subramaniam siad that in view of the continuing deadlock over the formation of a new Government as the Centre, the president should under Article 86 (2) of the Constitution send a message to the Lok Sabha to the effect that it should, within the next few days, convey whether it favours dissolution and a fresh election. If the House was opposed to such a course, it should be asked to choose from among the members of either House, a leader for appointment as the Prime Minister.

 

In the absence of unanimity or consensus, the House should hold a formal election from among those whose names were proposed as per the procedure laid down by the Speaker.

The resolution said that if no candidate secured the votes of a majority of those present and voting in the first ballot, a second ballot should be held to enable the House elect as the leader either of the first two candidates who had secured the largest number of votes in the first ballot.

In the interest of quick decision, no time should be lost in scheduling a debate on matters pertaining to the compliance by the Lok Sabha with the president’s message.

In future instances, where a motion of no confidence was brought against a government, it should be made mandatory for the individual, group or party tabling the motion to indicate in his motion, the name of the person who had the required numerical support to be elected as the next leader or the House for appointment by the president, as the next Prime Minister, the resolution, which was sent to the president, added.

 

Naidu awaits President’s response

The Hindu , April 24

 

HYDERABAD : The Telugu Desam Party was awaiting the response to the suggestion made by the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister,  Mr. N. Chandrababu Naidu, to the President,  Mr. K.R. Narayanan, last night that the leadership issue should be decided on the floor of the Lok Sabha because of the tortuous process of negotiations in which the Congress (I) finds it difficult to assemble 272 MPs on its side.

 

Telugu Desam sources said that the President can summon a session of the Lok Sabha for Monday or Tuesday and ask those staking their claim to form the next Government to seek a vote of approval,  and in elections to be held in quick succession,  the leader who can win the support of the majority of members of Lok Sabha can be asked to form a Government    “It is true that there has been no precedent,  but precedents are created only in times of crisis,”  TDP leaders said.

 

The exercise of cabinet formation cannot be endlessly prolonged,  and the method suggested by Mr. Naidu would save the President from the embarrassment of having to invite the BJP leaders to explore the possibility of cabinet formation again.  If, as the BJP leaders claim, they can muster the support of 272 MPs to obtain a majority in the Lok Sabha,    they would automatically be called to form the next Government.

 

Mr. Naidu is believed to have  been told by some constitutional experts that this is the best way to resolve the deadlock.

 

 

Elect PM on floor of the House : TDP

 

HYDERABAD : The Telugu Desam Party (TDP)  on Sunday reiterated its proposal for electing Prime Minister on the floor of Lok Sabha,   saying it was the only option left to avoid mid-term elections.

 

The TDP President and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu spoke to Prime Minister Vajpayee twice over telephone and was understood to have reiterated his party’s view that the present political stalemate could be resolved by allowing MPs to choose the Prime Minister by voting.  Mr. Naidu held a meeting with his party MPs and politburo members and reviewed the political developments.

 

Later talking to reporters,  party spokesman   Venkateshwarulu and general secretary Lal Jan Basha alleged that Congress had ‘misled president Narayanan and the nation by claiming the support of 272 MPs which proved to be a lie.”

 

 

 

 

High Court demands further elaboration          [The Pioneer    18-5-99]

PIL Challenges President’s invitation to Sonia for Government Formation

 

NEW DELHI : TWO MONTHS’ time have been given by the Delhi High Court for filing additional affidavit on a petition challenging President K.R. Narayanan’s invitation to Congress President Sonia Gandhi to explore the possibility of forming an alternative Government after the fall of Vajpayee Government on Monday.

 

A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Devinder Gupta and Justice K.S. Gupta, after hearing over three-hour-long arguments by advocate P.N.  Lekhi,  agreed to grant him time till July 7 to file additional affidavit as the court observed that it wanted further elaboration on facts.

 

The court was hearing a public interest litigation moved by Rashtriya Mukti Morcha (RMM)   which alleged that the President by inviting Sonia Gandhi,  a “total stranger” to  Parliament, instead of the acknowledged Leader of  Opposition (Sharad Pawar) “ has hurt the basic structure of the Constitution as well as the established convention.”

 

The convention was that only the acknowledged Leader of Opposition is invited to form an alternative Government after the defeat of the Government in Lok Sabha,  Mr. Lekhi argued.

 

The petitioner has also challenged the invitation to a person,  who was not a natural born Indian citizen within the meaning of Article 5 of the Constitution, for appointment to the high office.

 

“A person whose citizenship can be revoked cannot by an Act of Parliament cannot be a claiment to any public office as this will put the security of the nation in danger,”   Mr. Lekhi said.

 

He further contended that Article 5 of the Constitution recognises three categories of citizens – (a) who is born in the territory of India, (b)  either of whose parents is born in the territory of India and ( c ) who has been ordinarily resident in territory of India for not less than five years immediately preceding the commencement of the Constitution.

 

The court repeatedly asked Mr. Lekhi to show which provisions of the Constitution prohibits a person from occupying a public office without satisfying the conditions laid down in Article 5 of the Constitution.

 

On this Mr. Lekhi charged that every thing was written in Constitution,  but “we have to interpret it”.  If not so,  then the Cabinet could comprise of members who are citizen of various countries,  he added.

 

Citizenship of  a person registered under the Citizenship Act could be revoked by an Act of Parliament,  Lekhi said and pleaded the court to deal with the petition keeping in view such an eventuality.

 

 

President turns down Telugu Desam Suggestion

Direct election to PM’s post       [Deccan Herald  25-04-99]

HYDERABAD, April 24 :- President K.R. Narayanan has not  responded to the suggestion of  Telugu Desam party (TDP) President  N. Chandra Babu Naidu that the Lok Sabha should elect  a   Prime Minister to tied over the present political crisis.  However,  the party has explained that it is good to set precedents   and for political parties to be reconciled to the idea of  “living within coalition”.

 

TDP spokesman UmaReddy Venkateshwaralu told DHNS that in the past admittedly there are no such conventions or presidents in the world democracy, “precedence emerge from cricis situation”,  he said.

 

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and some other leaders were also informed of TDP’s  suggestion, during the press conference  and elaborated on the suggestion.  The political parties could nominate there candidates for the Prime Minister post and the person getting the majority votes would be invited by the President to form the Government.  Such a Government could well be a minority one since the elected leaders might not be able to get more than 269 votes. 

 

This was the best option available under the present political circumstances and would help find a new Prime Minister “within three days”  and would also obviate the ned for a confidence vote by the next Government.  This would be an ideal solution to prevent mid-term  elections which no party is prepared to face and also to avoid  the present “numbers game.”

 

This suggestion also shows that the TDP is not convinced that a viable non-Congress, non-BJP third front has a chance of emerging.

 

10.Did Sonia break law,  asks BJP

 

New Delhi, May 11 :The BJP today  launched a major salvo against the Congress by questioning how the party chief Sonia Gandhi got herself enrolled as a voter in the Capital even before taking Indian citizenship.  The BJP has attempted to drag her in a legal quagmire by accusing her of flouting the law.

 

In a statement, party  Vice - President K.L.  Sharma pointed out that Form 4 of the Registration of electors Rules,  1960,  says that “only the names of those who are citizens of India should be entered”  on the electoral rolls”.

 

Sharma wondered if it was a fact that Sonia Gandhi had herself registered as a voter in January 1980 “without giving up her Italian citizenship and what steps the Congress proposed to take to enforce the law in this case”.

 

Referring to a report in a daily today,  if it was a fact that after Sonia’s name was “struck off”  the list in 1982,  she had herself registered in January 1983, ‘once again without giving up her Italian citizenship’ and if Sonia was registered as an Indian citizen on April 30,1983.