The Assam government is contemplating the promulgation of the Preventive Detention Act in the state in a day or two following reports of a secessionist tendency among some people in the state, a highly placed source said in Siliguri. Meanwhile, round-the-clock picketing at Oil India’s pipeline headquarter at Narengi (Gauhati) continued to prevent the supply of crude outside the state. Since yesterday, the number of pickets has gone up as people are coming from the rural areas to participate in the picketing. The security arrangements have been tightened along the 600 km-long pipeline as a precautionary measure.
Jyoti Basu, West Bengal chief minister, urged Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to find a “political solution” to the Assam problem as early as possible and offered the “help” of the Left Front, especially of the CPM which has a unit in Assam, if necessary. Intervening in the debate in the Assembly on a Janata Party resolution asking the Centre to arrange for withdrawal of the Chhatra Parishad (I) movement in West Bengal, Basu wondered: “Why is Mrs Gandhi not intervening in Assam? Where is the difficulty? She has to tell it to the people.” He said the more a solution was delayed, the more difficult it would be as fissiparous forces would feel encouraged.
Jana Sangh Vs Janata
Unless the Janata Party leadership decides to amend or reject its parliamentary board resolution on dual membership, the Jana Sangh faction is set to formalise the third split in the three-year-old party on April 5. Sundar Singh Bhandari, a senior Jana Sangh faction leader, said the convention of “those who believe the RSS issue to be a bogey and want to bury it” will pass a resolution on the first day of the convention on April 3 rejecting the March 18 resolution of the Janata Party. Unless the national executive rejected or amended the resolution, the convention would take a decision on follow-up action leaving its implementation to one or two leaders.
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