Egypt announced that it was suspending its activities within the Arab League in the face of efforts to isolate it for signing a peace treaty with Israel. The step left the future of the 22-member league in doubt. Its Egyptian secretary-general, Mahmoud Riad, has already resigned because of the profound split in the Arab world over the treaty. The disarray in the Arab ranks was underscored by the fact that Riad’s assistant, Sayed Nofal, also an Egyptian, issued a statement backing the treaty as “a support for the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.” Radical Arab countries opposed to the treaty signed in Washington yesterday are promoting efforts to remove the league headquarters from Cairo.
There appears to be a growing resentment among Congress (I) members over the decision of the party high command to revive the Youth Congress (I) and pave the way for Sanjay Gandhi’s direct entry into politics. The manifest reason for the revival of the Youth Congress is to create a party front to fight the RSS and, more important, to organise a protest movement against the Special Courts Bill, which was recently passed in the Rajya Sabha. The decision of the working committee of the party to revive the Youth Congress (I) brought to surface the resentment of some members against the development which, according to them, was to project Sanjay Gandhi. At the general body meeting of the parliamentary party, several members expressed resentment.
George faces flak
Union industry minister, George Fernandes, faced criticism from within the ruling Janata Party over the collaboration between the government-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and Siemens. One of his critics is Subramanian Swamy, a vocal Janata MP, from Bombay. Swamy has met the Prime Minister, Morarji Desai, in an attempt to stall the BHEL-Siemens deal.The PM, it appears, called a meeting of the industry minister and Swamy in his office a few days ago and confronted Fernandes. Swamy, it is learnt, was asked to give a detailed note on the deal for a reply by Fernandes. This is the second meeting of the kind the PM has called in which the minister has been asked to face charges made by a member from within the ruling party.