JABALPUR: L.K.Advani wants the functioning of the Constitution during the last four decades to be reviewed by a commission.

The BJP leader was talking informally aboard the chartered Beechcraft he had used for his three-day campaign in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh while on the way for his two-day programme in Gujarat.

When asked if the BJP would set up a new constituent assembly he said he wanted a commission to review the working of the present Constitution.

“This is my personal view” he emphasized.

He said he was not suggesting replacement of the present Constitution but a review to suggest some changes to make it an effective instrument. “By and large the present Constitution is sound and has worked well. Failures if any are of the people who have been running the country rather than the Constitution itself. One should be willing to learn from experience. If the commission concludes a presidential system will be more effective in dealing with centrifugal wends it should be considered.”

The commission he said should review the Constitution in the context of the present electoral system the demand for smaller States and weigh the presidential system against the parliamentary system

On the anti-defection law he said he was opposed to the demand for its scrapping but its provisions putting a blanket ban on an MP’s right to dissent should be reviewed. “If these provisions to check defection were not there could have been lot of instability in the country during the past 15 months.”

According to the Act’s present provisions MPs cannot express their dissent even on ordinary bills “This is a curb not against defection but against dissent” headed.

Asked what would be the BJP’s priority if it was voted to power at the Center Mr Advani said that Punjab Assam and Kashmir would top its agenda.

He said the creation of a security belt along the Punjab border with Pakistan was a necessity to solve the problem. The BJP would negotiate with those militants who gave up the demand for Khalistan and expressed faith in the country’s Constitution he said

The talks of the Prime Minister Mr Chandra Shekhar would not lead to any “tangible results” because they (the militants) also knew it was a care taker government he said.

The BJP would not close investigations into the Bofors scandal and the 1984 killing of Sikhs in Delhi.

Mr Advani said Mr V.P Singh was a very poor team leader. A prime minister should not be an extra-ordinary genius but he should have a clear “perception and direction”.

In 1989 he represented all sections in society but he now seemed to be satisfied with the support of Muslims and backward classes Mr Advani said.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 10, 1991