No party in a position to form alternate Govt : Vajpayee

| 01 April 1999 21:43 IST

Is prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee hinting at the possibility of his one-year long coalition coming to an end if AIADMK leader Jayalalitha withdraws its support to the BJP-led government?

"Our mindset is not yet prepared to make the era of coalitions successful. May be it would take little more time", commented Vajpayee when journalists asked him what indications he is sending by remaining firm on Jayalalitha's demands on the issue of former naval chief admiral Vishnu Bhagwat.

While evading a direct reply to the question whether Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee has been assigned to talk to the TMC and DMK leaders to counter Jayalalitha's suspected move to withdraw support to the government, the prime minister said he does not want to get into mathematical calculations.

"We won the confidence vote last time by 39 votes. That is why I see no threat to my government on the floor of the House", he says. There is no clear indication till date that AIADMK would withdraw the support, he adds.

While commenting sarcastically that the responsibility of forming an alternate government is not coming to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Vajpayee also claims confidently that no other party is in a position to form the government, except the BJP, in a given situation.

He also saw no point in barricading a debate in the House on the Bhagwat issue when the government is prepared for it. "The demand to appoint the joint Parliamentary committee before discussion in the House indicates that the opposition is not in a position to substantiate its charges on the floor of the House", he remarked.

To a pointed question, the prime minister said the government did not initiate court martial against admiral Bhagwat for the simple reason that he did not intend to take drastic action against the former naval chief. "Dismissal was more than enough", he said.

He also dismissed the reported news of withholding admiral Bhagwat's pension, describing it baseless while creating unnecessary confusion on a sensitive issue without confirming it with the defence ministry.

The prime minister arrived in Goa last night from Mumbai to attend the four-day national executive meeting beginning here from tomorrow. He would be attending naval exercises at INS Virat throughout the day.

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