Most NDA allies absent at meeting over price rise

April 22nd, 2008 - 6:40 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 22 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party’s clarion call against price rise has gone unheeded by majority of its allies in the National Democratic Alliance. Only two NDA partners, Shiv Sena and Biju Janata Dal, turned up at a meeting presided over by BJP deputy leader in the Lok Sabha V.K. Malhotra against price rise Tuesday. Manohar Joshi, Shiv Sena leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker, present at the meeting later said: “We (the NDA and the BJP) will hold a joint press conference April 24 to draw the attention of the people to rising prices.”

BJP held a meeting of its Core Group Monday evening to draw up its agitation programme. It, however, held back the announcement, hoping to add the weight of its NDA allies to the programme.

Some BJP leaders later informally told newsmen: “We have drawn up a detailed programme. But since the NDA meeting is scheduled for tomorrow, we will announce the programme only after that.”

But the meeting Tuesday in the Parliamentary office of the leader of opposition L.K. Advani did not turn out to be a show of strength.

The Janata Dal-United (JD-U), cut up with the BJP for ignoring its claims in Karnataka, did not turn up. Nobody from the JD-U was available to explain the absence of their party from this crucial meeting.

However, last week, JD-U president Sharad Yadav had threatened to distance his party from NDA programmes if the BJP treated its allies shabbily.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) also did not send any leader of consequence. Neither its parliamentary party leader and son of Punjab chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal nor his second in command Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa arrive for this much-hyped assembly.

The only exceptions were the Shiv Sena and Biju Janata Dal.

From the Shiv Sena, former speaker Manohar Joshi, accompanied by former union minister Anant Geete, attended the meeting while BJD sent its leaders in the Lok Sabha Braj Kishore Tripathy and in the Rajya Sabha B.J. Panda.

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