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Tuesday, July 31, 2001

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Ajit Singh's case different: BJP

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, JULY 30. The Bharatiya Janata Party president, Mr. Jana Krishnamurthi, has talked of the need for ``norms'' for the ``re- entry'' of the former National Democratic Alliance constituents back into the ruling coalition and has disapproved of their being given ministerial berths. However, this is not his view in the case of ``new entrants'' to the NDA, as in the case of Mr. Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal.

Clarifying this today, the BJP spokesperson, Mr. Vijay Kumar Malhotra, said that while talks were on with the PMK and the Trinamool Congress for their ``re-entry'' into the NDA, contrary to reports ``neither of the two parties have shown eagerness for ministerial positions''.

The case of Mr. Ajit Singh, who was recently inducted into the Government, was entirely different, he said. After all, it was normal for the coalition partners to ``share power,'' and it was for the Prime Minister to decide what berths to give to whom.

Although neither Mr. Krishnamurthi, nor Mr. Malhotra or anyone else in the BJP has specifically stated that the new ``norms'' to be framed for entry into the NDA are to be applied to the Trinamool alone, many in the party believe it is the possible entry of the Trinamool which is causing a lot of heartburn.

The BJP's West Bengal unit has always been at odds with the Trinamool leader, Ms. Mamata Banerjee, and after the Trinamool ditched the BJP just before the Bengal Assembly polls, attitudes towards Ms. Banerjee have certainly hardened.

As for Mr. Singh's ``entry'', no one in the BJP seems to be worried that the NDA was not ``consulted'' before allowing him and his party to sit on the treasury benches.

And no one is worried that Mr. Singh has made a Cabinet berth for himself a pre-condition for an alliance with the BJP for the coming Assembly polls.

Briefing reporters, Mr. Malhotra today defended the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh, saying it was no better or no worse than in other States.

The Moradabad incident involving members of a minority community should not be given a communal colour.

It was a case of some criminal tribe attacking people in their homes while they were sleeping. There were ``no clashes'' between different communities.

He deplored the tendency to see every violent incident in terms of caste and communal violence.

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