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Boycott forced on NDA: Fernandes

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May 12, 2005 10:49 IST

National Democratic Alliance convener George Fernandes has said that the United Progressive Alliance government had "no business" to remain in power if it could not ensure that Parliament ran smoothly.

"If it can't see that the House runs, it has no business to be there," he told Karan Thapar in an interview on BBC's 'Hard Talk India' programme.

Fernandes said it was "essentially the responsibility" of the government to see that the House functions.

The NDA convener said he was prepared to share the blame, but added that at the same time the government could not shrug the responsibility.

He said the decision to boycott Parliament was forced on NDA.

He said, "We would not have liked to take the decision but for the simple reason that our being in Parliament was not liked by the ruling establishment."

Disagreeing that by boycotting Parliament, the opposition had given the government a free hand, Fernandes said it was not so as the opposition was exposing the government every day.

To a question regarding making defence aircraft available to Justice Phukan, who headed the commission set up to probe the Tehelka expose, the former defence minister said a request came to him from the commission and he had the authority to clear it.

He said that if he had not provided the aircraft, he could have been blamed for not cooperating with the probe panel.

On the NDA memorandum to the President accusing the UPA government of trying to scuttle Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's meeting with former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Fernandes said the government had a responsibility of coming out with a clarification.

It was "irresponsible" on the part of the government not to say the media report was inaccurate.

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