3 Plus 3 Meet Leaves MoD Cold

New Delhi, October 25: | Updated: Oct 26 2002, 05:30am hrs
The Thursday meeting between Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) chief KS Sudarshan has failed to enthuse the ministry of disinvestment (MoD), as no signals that indicate a shift in the Sanghs opposition to privatisation have come out.

A number of contentious issues were discussed at the 3 plus 3 meeting, in which Mr Vajpayee, Mr Sudarshan, deputy Prime Minister LK Advani, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Venkaiah Naidu, RSS general secretary HV Sheshadri and RSS joint secretary general Madan Das Devi participated.

According to RSS sources, the government will evolve a compromise formula on disinvestment in public sector undertakings (PSUs), but the basic contours of the formula are yet to be worked out. The MoD is not upbeat about such compromise formulas. If divestment is to be carried out without strategic sale, it will be a step backwards, feels the MoD. For, minority stake sale was the mode of disinvestment in the 1990s, and neither the government received substantial returns by sellings its equity in PSUs nor there was any change in the work culture of these companies.

At Thursdays meeting both Mr Vajpayee and Mr Advani assured the RSS functionaries that their objections and suggestions would be taken into account on political and economic issues. In return, the RSS assured the government that it wont criticise governments policies in public.

On the issue of criticism by Sangh-affiliates like the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the RSS informed the government to directly deal with such organisations. The Sangh said that it would intervene, but only when there is a deadlock.

The Thursday meeting was held in the backdrop of the visit of an International Monetary Fund team to India. Mr Vajpayee is said to have pointed out that the outbursts by the RSS functionaries against privatisation and foreign direct investment (FDI) do not send across healthy signals across the world.

Sources said the RSS is unlikely to soften its stand on the issues like FDI and privatisation beyond a certain point. On the other hand, the Prime Minister has indicated that his government would accommodate the views of the Sangh Parivar so long they dont cripple economic reforms. Both sides agreed to improved their channels of communication.