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Buta Singh set to take R-Day salute

La affaire Buta Singh appeared far from its expected denouement on Wednesday night with the Bihar governor, regardless of his unequivocal indictment by the Supreme Court, all set to take the Republic Day salute in Patna on Thursday.

india Updated: Jan 26, 2006 04:58 IST

La affaire Buta Singh appeared far from its expected denouement on Wednesday night with the Bihar governor, regardless of his unequivocal indictment by the Supreme Court, all set to take the Republic Day salute in Patna on Thursday.

Home minister Shivraj Patil did reportedly establish the first post-judgment contact with the governor, who hasn’t shown any signs of demitting office of his own. But sources close to Buta Singh insisted that there was no suggestion from the government side seeking his resignation.

From the government side, there were indications of persuasive tactics rather than any sledge-hammer action of a recall, to make the governor see reason through a quid pro quo of an honourable exit after the R-Day function. In his first comments after the court’s verdict, Buta Singh had told reporters that he would take the salute at the parade, there being no question of his resignation from his gubernatorial office.

In this backdrop, it wasn’t surprising that the comprehensive statement Patil had promised within a day on Tuesday did not materialise. After meeting the PM, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and law minister H.R. Bhardwaj, the home minister told reporters that more time was required to go through the lengthy 440-page judgment.

Patil said some of his colleagues had been able to read the court order; he personally had not. “I have read about 200-250 pages. I am still reading it,” he said. He suggested that on account of Republic Day engagements, the government would come out with its promised statement only on Friday.

The home minister did not elaborate. When quizzed about Buta Singh’s fate, he said, “I will not sit in judgement on anyone, anything.”

But by the time the official statement — widely expected to reveal the UPA regime’s considered response to the judgment — takes shape, the governor would be in Delhi.

The stated reason for his return on Thursday is the hospitalisation of his son’s father-in-law. But sources indicated that his presence here would afford the government the opportunity to prevail upon him to bring to an end the embarrassment caused to it by his continuation in the constitutional office.

First Published: Jan 26, 2006 03:29 IST