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February 18, 1999
Bakht says harsh Budget not ruled out, despite Chautala
Withdrawal of support by the Indian National Lok Dal to the BJP-led government would not deter the latter to take harsh steps in the coming Budget as suited to the country's needs, claimed Industry Minister Sikander Bakht.
Addressing a conference on small scale industry in New Delhi today, Bakht said the Budget is being prepared with an open mind as the government has to perform according to the demands of the economy under any circumstances.
''Withdrawal of support by INLD would not and should not affect the Budget,'' he said.
When asked that the BJP's allies would now be in a better position to pressurise the government with a tough hand following withdrawal of support by INLD, Bakht said, ''Nothing can be tougher than the nation's demands.''
Asked whether Om Prakash Chautala's decision has scared the government, the industry minister said there is no need to panic. ''We are democrats and will take the verdict of democracy as it comes."
Bakht said in the present world, the country could be made more powerful by improving economic situation than by accumulating nuclear arsenal. In this connection, relations with other countries should be improved so that money that goes into defence could be deployed for economic purposes.
The seminar was organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Laghu Udyog Bharati.
When LUB president Sudharshan Sareen urged Bakht to lead a trade delegation to Pakistan after the proposed tour by Prime Minister A B Vajpayee to that country by a Delhi-Lahore bus, the industry minister said he is in a dilemma as he has never reconciled to the idea of division of the country, but at the same time is very keen to develop the Indo-Pak trade.
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