Report: Indian Parliament to dissolve by Feb 6

NEW DELHI: India's Cabinet has decided to dissolve the lower house of parliament by February 6 to make way for early elections, television channels reported yesterday. 

They said that the Cabinet had passed a one-line resolution for the dissolution and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was to meet President A. P.J. Abdul Kalam during the evening to convey the decision. 

Earlier this month, the Indian government had announced an interim budget would be presented to parliament on Feb 3 in a clear indication of early elections around April. The scheduled date for elections was October. 

Normally, an interim budget is passed only to take care of government expenditures until polls are held and does not contain the long-term economic policies announced during budget sessions every February. 

India's ruling BJP party is keen to cash in on a “feel good factor” stemming from economic growth of over eight percent, peace moves with rival Pakistan and wins in state polls.                

Meanwhile officials from nuclear rivals India and Pakistan will restart peace talks Feb 16 in Islamabad after a gap of two years, both sides announced yesterday. 

“To commence the process of composite dialogue India and Pakistan have agreed to meet from Feb 16 to 18 in Islamabad,” Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said in New Delhi. 

“Joint secretary level talks on Feb 16 and 17 will be followed by a one day meeting of foreign secretaries on Feb 18,” he added. – AFP  

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