The Centre is keen to settle the Punjab problem and re-establish contact with the Akalis on their demands before December 10, the day they are meeting at Amritsar to chalk out their next programme for acceptance of the demands. The Centre’s anxiety is indicated by the tone of the letter Home Minister P C Sethi sent to the Akali Dal chief and morcha dictator Sant Harchand Singh Longowal, expressing the hope that all the problems of Punjab could be solved through negotiations to the satisfaction of all concerned keeping in view the national interest.
Amending Press Bill
While describing the failure of the negotiations initiated by the Information Ministry over the controversial Bihar Press Curb Bill as “unfortunate”, Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra announced that the bill would be amended in the light of the suggestions given by the ministry. .
The central leadership of the Congress (I) expelled Maganbhai Barot, MP, further complicating the patchup talks to bring back the powerful dissident group in Gujarat, which quit the party last week. It is obvious that this step has been taken to sound a note of warning to dissident groups in various states who have become increasingly assertive in recent weeks.
Vajpayee on Congress
A wave of disillusionment is sweeping Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and the people there will register their protest against the Congress (I) misrule by voting it out of power. Stating this, BJP President Atal Bihari Vajpayee, told The Indian Express in Bombay that dissensions within the party would also contribute to the Congress (I) defeat in the forthcoming elections. Vajpayee declared that it would be a protest vote, as in 1977.