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Proposal constitutional, says TDP

By Our Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD, JAN. 22. The Telugu Desam Party has asserted that there was nothing unconstitutional in the State Government's decision to approach the Governor for promulgating an ordinance for passing the vote-on-account budget for 2004-05.

While admitting that there was no precedent in the country of getting the budget approved through an ordinance while a Government was in place, the party held that Article 213 of the Constitution empowered the Governor to take such a step since the Assembly had been dissolved. The decision had been taken after consulting Constitutional experts.

Addressing a press conference here today, the TDP spokespersons, C. Ramachandraiah, R. Chandrasekhar Reddy, and S. Venugopalachary, MP, said the Constitution had sufficient provisions to avoid a vacuum. Where there were no provisions, the established conventions could be followed. Under these circumstances, the demand of the Congress for imposition of President's Rule was ridiculous, they said.

They said Congress leaders somehow wanted the elections postponed since they realised that people were not with them. They had earlier questioned the need for advancing the elections and later changed their tune saying that elections should be held within three months. Now they were opposing the move to get the vote-on-account approved through an ordinance.

The TDP leaders hit back at the Congress for violating the democratic spirit by invoking Article 356 dozens of times to topple elected Governments. At one time, it had also advocated the concept of a committed judiciary and imposed Emergency to safeguard the interests of a single individual.

Mr. Ramachandriah said in reply to a question that there was no need for him to comment on the World Bank's observation that the TDP Government had advanced the Assembly elections as it feared the risk of losing if polls were held as scheduled in September. "It is the exclusive prerogative of a political party to choose the timing of the election," he added.

Dr. Venugopalachary criticised Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra for reportedly projecting their mother, Sonia Gandhi, as the next Prime Minister during their tour of Amethi constituency. They were placing the interests of an individual over the national interests, he alleged.

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