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``Dismiss Modi Government''

By Our New Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI, DEC. 23. The Tehelka revelation that the Best Bakery case witness was paid money allegedly by a Bharatiya Janata Party legislator in Gujarat figured today in the Lok Sabha with the Rashtriya Janata Dal members demanding the dismissal of the Narendra Modi Government.

Raising the issue, the RJD leader, Devendra Prasad Yadav, said the report once again brought under suspicion the conduct of the Gujarat Government and demanded, amid interruptions by BJP members, that the Centre order a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation. He said the BJP, which was quick to demand the resignation of the RJD chief, Lalu Prasad, after the Election Commission filed a case recently, should now respond with a resignation of its president, L.K. Advani.

The former Minister and BJP leader, Harin Pathak, said the report was a conspiracy to destabilise the Modi Government. He said news dailies that carried the Tehelka report also carried a news item quoting the key witness Zahira Sheikh that neither did she recognise the BJP MLA nor was she paid any money.

Earlier, the Speaker, Somnath Chatterjee, said he would look into any comment on the merits of the case that was pending in courts and urged Mr. Yadav not to cross the Lakshman Rekha. The House witnessed uproar as the RJD members, along with some Congress MPs, were seen with a copy of the newspaper while members on the BJP benches were carrying a letter purported to have been written by an official in the Prime Minister's Office to the Ministry of Personnel on the Babri Masjid demolition case. The stand had resulted in a brief adjournment.

Shekhawat's ruling

In the Rajya Sabha, the RJD members sought to raise the Tehelka issue. Before allowing them, the Chairman, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, ruled that the Best Bakery case and the issue of Zahira's statements were sub-judice. ``Any references to the judiciary or on the proceedings would not be allowed and would be expunged.''

The BJP member, M. Venkaiah Naidu, pointed out that the session was coming to an end and the issue of suicide by farmers was scheduled for discussion. At this several RJD and Left members were on their feet.

There were exchanges between the ruling coalition and Opposition members as the RJD leader, Ramdeo Bhandary, insisted that he be allowed to speak.

Just as he was about to begin, the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Suresh Pachauri, announced the death of the former Prime Minister, P.V. Narasimha Rao.

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