Monday, Jul 08, 2002
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By Our Special Correspondent
The Left parties' Presidential candidate, Lakshmi Sahgal, being received by her supporters at the Bangalore airport on Sunday.
This was clear from the number of demands that the Constitution should be amended and for the scrapping of certain provisions, Capt. Sahgal told presspersons here today.
She said she had accepted to contest since all the Left parties unanimously suggested her name and secular democratic parties such as the Janata Dal (S) also supported her candidature.
Though she was a bit hesitant, she had agreed to contest as she felt it was her duty to accept the nomination.
The hesitation was due to her age as she felt that she might not be able to stand the strain of "hectic campaigning".
On the stand of the Congress, Capt. Sahgal said it was unfortunate that the party should have taken an opposing view.
Asked if the election was a battle between the Hindutva forces and patriotism, she said it was a battle more between secular and democratic forces on the one hand and non-secular forces on the other.
She conceded that as far as the numbers game went she had no chance, but if people voted according to their conscience the chances were even.
She answered in the affirmative when asked if the election of A.P.J. Abdul Kalam would send wrong signals to the nation.
She said funds would be diverted for higher military expenditure leaving little for poverty alleviation, literacy and health programmes.
Referring to riot-torn Gujarat, which she had visited after filing her nomination, she said it was something she was totally unprepared for. There was no shelter or food or medical facilities for the victims in the relief camps. Though she was definitely not in favour of the use of Article 356 of Constitution, the Gujarat situation warranted the use of the same.
The Government's decision to allow FDI up to 26 per cent in the print media was the worst thing that could have happened.
Every bit of the nation's sovereignty was being drained.
On the mystery surrounding the death of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, Capt. Sahgal said she felt the leader had passed away in an air crash in August 1945 though an inquiry was still going on.
Present at the press conference were H.G. Balakrishna, former judge of Karnataka High Court, the JD(S) leader, K.H. Srinivasa, and the JD(S) secretary-general, C. Narayanaswami.
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