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Vajpayee considers appointing deputy

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee may formally appoint a deputy in his government. A proposal for the appointment of a Deputy Prime Minister was under consideration in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), and a decision would be taken soon, Vajpayee told a news conference at the Raj Bhawan.

india Updated: Jun 29, 2002 14:46 IST


Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee may formally appoint a deputy in his government.
A proposal for the appointment of a Deputy Prime Minister was under consideration in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), and a decision would be taken soon, Vajpayee told a news conference at the Raj Bhawan.
Admitting to having learnt “hard lessons from the recent assembly elections”, Vajpayee on Friday gave glimpses of a comprehensive plan to revamp both the Central Government and the BJP in order to improve their public image.
“The NDA government was formed in October 1999. Two years and eight months have passed. The time has come to take stock of the situation, prepare a balance sheet and to take corrective steps,” he said.
Several ministers belonging to the BJP had offered to resign from their posts and work for the party, Vajpayee said. “The selection process has begun. Soon, the names of the ministers who will be drafted in the organisation would be announced, and vice versa.”
The “massive reshuffle”, the Prime Minister said, was aimed at ensuring changes in the style of government and making it more efficient; and to bettering the performance of the party and improving its relationship with the people.
Asked if his government had failed to come up to people’s expectations, Vajpayee said: “The recent election results have given us a clear message. We’ve learnt lessons.”
Members of the NDA who are not represented in the government will get representation after the July 1 reshuffle. Vajpayee specifically named the Trinamool Congress and the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK). Asked if the BJP’s ally in Uttar Pradesh, the BSP, would be represented, he replied: “The BSP is not a member of the NDA.”
Did the appointment of Faizabad MP and founder president of the Bajrang Dal, Vinay Katiyar, indicate a new hardline in the BJP over Ayodhya?
“There is no shift in our stand,” the Prime Minister said. “Either the contentious issue should be resolved through talks, or it should be settled by the courts.”
Vajpayee refused to react to the recent observation of the Shankaracharya of Kanchi — he had said he was too preoccupied with other matters to find time for Ayodhya.

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<b>Steps and Signals</B>


<b>DEPUTY PREMIER</b>
on the horizon
Aim: Evolve consensus
within the NDA on a formal number 2 in government


<b>KASHMIR POLLS </b>

under central rule
Aim: Hold carrot to Hurriyat, pro-election militants.
Assure world of fairness


<b>MAJOR REVAMP </B>
in party and government
Aim: Reward and punish.
Set equations right before crucial elections in states

First Published: Jun 29, 2002 14:46 IST