Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Sep 07, 2002
Industry & Economy
Government - Politics
Venkaiah Naidu denies rift in NDA over divestment
KOLKATA, Sept. 6
THERE is no difference of opinion among the constituents of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on disinvestment, Mr Venkaiah Naidu, BJP President, said.
Participating in a `meet the press' programme here on Friday, he said that the NDA did not "invent disinvestment'' which was really kicked off by the United Front Government. However, the Government was committed to it and it was its stated policy.
Answering a question on the recent differences of opinion that have surfaced within the NDA on this issue, he said that the basic policy was not being questioned but the approaches and the modalities were being debated.
"The party need not take a stand on each and every company.''
On the issue of disinvestment in the oil companies, he said the Government would take a considered stand and move forward accordingly.
The BJP President, who is here on the occasion of the eastern zonal party congress, said that five such zonal congress were planned with a three-point agenda.
These were: To make a mid-term appraisal of the performance of the party and the Government; to undertake introspection with reference to the health of the party and identify its strengths and weaknesses; and to take whatever corrective action was necessary so as to prepare a future road-map.
Such congresses had already been held in Bangalore and Bhopal and would shortly be held in Jaipur and Guwahati.
Pointing out that the party was now trying to become "progressively aggressive'' in States where it was not strong, Mr Naidu said that the BJP had set a target of getting 300 seats in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections on the basis of a positive mandate.
"We won the last elections on the basis of a negative mandate in the sense that the people rejected the Congress. But, this time round, we will return on the basis of our governance,''' he said.
On the issues raised by Ms Jayalalithaa regarding Mrs Sonia Gandhi, the BJP chief said that the issue was first raised by Congressmen after which some of the party's leaders left the Congress to form a separate party.
He said it did not bother the BJP as to who was the leader of the Congress party and they were happy with the present leadership.
As to whether a person not of Indian origin could become the PM, he said that that issue would be settled by the people.t.
For the BJP, Mr A. B. Vajpayee would continue to be the chief as "the country needs Mr Vajpayee'', Mr Naidu said.
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