Preparation for summit tardy, says Congress

NEW DELHI, JULY 6. The Congress today criticised the Centre for its ``tardy preparation'' and the delay in consulting the Opposition in connection with the coming India-Pakistan summit. ``While General Musharraf has held wide-ranging consultations, we are yet to get started'' said the party spokesperson, Mr. Anand Sharma.

The Congress, however, made it clear that it welcomed and supported the idea of the summit and the decision to engage Gen. Musharraf in a dialogue. ``The Congress president, Ms. Sonia Gandhi, has welcomed the summit and extended her good wishes for the success of the meeting,'' he said.

The party also criticised the Centre for its alleged ``cavalier approach and negligent attitude towards important political issues.'' The reference was to the Government's handling of the situation in the northeast, and the recent crash of UTI shares.

The party attributed the situation in Manipur and the subsequent disturbances in reaction to the ceasefire with certain Naga militant outfits to the Centre's ``ad hoc approach.'' The Government's casual approach and the defection game indulged in by the Samata Party and the BJP have contributed directly to unstable situation in area, Mr. Sharma added.

He said the decision of the student bodies of Manipur and Assam to forge a common platform was a cause for concern. The Government had done precious little to solve the problems that has led to this situation.

The Government was responsible for the situation developing in Punjab as well. The return of Khalistan protagonists, Dr. Jagjit Singh Chauhan, and terrorists such as Zafarwal and Santokh Singh had vitiated the atmosphere.

He also said the Government was not concerned about the plight of the UTI shareholders. ``Millions have been affected, yet the gravity of the situation has not dawned on the Government.'' Since the last Union budget the sensex had fallen from 4,600 to 3,300 points, ``but the Government had done precious little to arrest the trend''.

Referring to the UTI, Mr. Sharma called on the Government to come out with details of the investment made by the UTI. ``The investments were made in shares that were not listed,'' he said.