OTHERS

BJP against autonomy for States: Surjeet

CHENNAI, JULY 20. The CPI(M) general secretary, Mr. Harkishan Singh Surjeet, today said the BJP was opposed to grant of autonomy for the States and the party only ``wants Hindi and Hindutva'' in the country.

Mr. Surjeet, who was here for eye treatment, told the media that the Jammu and Kashmir Government cannot expect ``greater autonomy'' under the BJP-led Government.

However, Mr. Surjeet said he had told the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, that he should not ``mix up'' the demands for restoration of pre-1953 status in the State with ``greater autonomy''.

On the viability of an alternative front at the Centre opposed to both the Congress(I) and the BJP, he said the ``third front is the need of the hour''. There were forces having differences with the Congress (I) and these had to be rallied together, he added.

Asked about the ``ground work'' being done for the formation of a third front, he quipped, ``it is being done by the Prime Minister''. He wondered why Mr. Vajpayee rushed to Srinagar after rejecting the autonomy demand of the Farooq Government.

On the Maharashtra Government sanctioning prosecution of the Shiv Sena chief, Mr. Bal Thackeray, he said law had to take its own course. As for the Shiv Sena's demand for the sacking of the Congress-NCP Government in the State, he said, ``any Government without the BJP, they don't want.''