Press Release

We are herewith releasing the letter written by CPI(M) General Secretary, Harkishan Singh Surjeet to Prime Minister, Vajpayee on the unilateral announcement of the candidature of Bhairon Singh Shekawat.

July 17, 2002

Dear Shri Vajpayeeji,

When I received your phone call yesterday, I presumed there was some urgency and that the Prime Minister wanted to discuss or consult me.

The issue was indeed serious and I did expect that we in the opposition would be consulted. However, I was taken aback when instead of seeking an opinion from us or soliciting our views, you merely conveyed a decision you had already taken.

Bhairon Singh Shekawat’s name has been doing the rounds for the past one month or so and the media has widely reported on it. But at no stage did the government hold consultations with us or the major parties in the opposition regarding his candidature for the post of Vice-President.

The government is seeking concurrence to a decision already taken by it and wants to convey the impression that it has held consultations with the opposition. The government should have come forward with probable names and it ought to have placed them before the opposition parties for their views. As opposed to this process of consultation, the government is unilaterally seeking to impose its candidate. Had the government undertaken such a course, we definitely would have contributed to the discussion in arriving at a consensus.

With the government deliberately undermining this process of consultations and consensus, we in consultation with other opposition parties have decided to put up a candidate for the post.

With regards
(Harkishan Singh Surjeet)