NEW DELHI, India; The Prime Minister has launched a frontal attack against the recent activities and utterances of President Zail Singh and the former Defense Minister V.P. Singh and indirectly charged them for an attempt to weaken the government. For the first time the Prime Minister mentioned the two leaders by name and listed some of their actions which in his view clearly showed their bias against the government.

The Prime Minister was addressing the meeting of the coordination of youth leaders of Indian Congress (I), Although there was an enclosure provided for the press, no newsman was present at the function. Either because the organizers had decided to have the meeting in camera or because the invitations were not sent to newspapers in time. The contents of Prime Ministers speech had, therefore, to be gathered from party workers contacted immediately, who attended the meeting. After keeping a long silence, the Prime Minister referred to the March 9 letter of the President. Although he did not categorically mentions that President and’ Mr. V.P. Singh had acted in Unison the trend of the remark suggested that Mr. Gandhi regarded their actions as having destabilizing effect on the government.

Mr. Gandhi’s speech seems to be in coordination with the earlier tirade by his colleagues. He had also without mentioning the name of the President warned that no one high or low would be allowed to subvert the constitution.

The Prime Minister’s speech also coincided with the publication of the report quoting V.P. Singh’s warning that he would expose his predecessors unless they stopped criticizing him. The Prime Minister is reported to have said that the timing of the President’s remark in his letter was very significant. It was written at a time when Mr. Gandhi was fully submerged in the election campaign in West Bengal and Kerala. In fact, the letter was drafted somewhere else and not in Rashtrapati Bhawan, the Prime Minister said that the original draft has been recovered from Mr. Gurumurti’s paper in which Mr. Ramnath Goenka was invited. The corrections made in the draft were not in the handwriting of anyone in Rashtrapati Bhawan. The government, the Prime Minister said knows the name of the person who had made the corrections. It was a well-known name he said but he will not divulge it.

The crux of the Prime Minister’s remark according to some of the listeners is that the President is believed to have acted in the manner at someone else’s bidding.

The Prime Minister also referred at length to the press controversies which had erupted one after the other and drew the conclusion that they constitute an attempt to destabilize the constitution and the country. He however made no reference to the press release issued by Rashtrapati Bhawan two days ago stating the speculation that the President intended to dismiss the Prime Minister was utterly devoid of any basis. The Prime Minister is reported to have referred to the recent utterances of V.P. Singh specially those he had made after he had resigned as Defense Minister. Relating to his own honesty and incorruptibility as if he were the only clean person in the party and everyone else was corrupt. Mr. Gandhi asked

In the appointment of Farifax agencies the Prime Minister said that it was strange that there were no documents available in the Finance Ministry in respect to that matter. Mr. Gandhi said no information about the payment of the commission in the West German deal had come much earlier. Mr. V.P. Singh had not consulted the Prime Minister before ordering an enquiry. This suggested that he was not interested in ordering the enquiry initially but had changed his mind in the light of other developments.

Mr. Gandhi is expected to call on President Zail Singh to wish him happy birthday. The President was born on May 5, 1916 and will be celebrating his 71st birthday today.

Article extracted from this publication >>  May 8, 1987