M A I N   N E W S

Advani to begin yatra today
Tribune News Service

One of the members of a Sikh delegation presents a sword to Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani prior to his departure for Bharat Uday Yatra
One of the members of a Sikh delegation presents a sword to Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani prior to his departure for Bharat Uday Yatra in New Delhi on Tuesday. — PTI photo

New Delhi, March 9
Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani today dismissed the allegations that his roadshow would cause communal tensions.

“The opposition reaction is predictable. It amuses me,” Mr Advani told newspersons at the airport while leaving for Kanyakumari, from where he would begin his yatra tomorrow.

The Deputy Prime Minister asserted that his coming yatra was different from the previous ones as this time he was undertaking it while being in power unlike in the past.

“Earlier, when I undertook yatras, I was in the opposition and would focus on criticism of the then governments. But this time, I am approaching the people with the good track record of the Vajpayee government,” Mr Advani said.

Sporting a vermilion tilak on his forehead, Mr Advani, who left for Kanyakumari with his family members and party colleagues Arun Jaitley, Pramod Mahajan and Ravi Shankar Prasad, asserted that good governance and development would continue to be the main poll plank of the BJP in its campaign for the coming Lok Sabha elections.

He expressed confidence that the people would give a decisive mandate in favour of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Mr Advani said the fact that people had begun choosing governments, as in the case of the recent assembly poll, on the issues of governance and development showed the growing maturity of Indian democracy.

Pointing out that the two pre-poll surveys had predicted a clear victory for the NDA and certain defeat for the Congress, Mr Advani said when such forecasts were made, the voters tend to make a decision in favour of the combination that was ahead in the poll race.

Dubbing as “amusing” the opposition’s claims that the yatra would fuel communal tension in the country, he said it could not be true as he would be focusing on development issues.

He said Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti had also undertaken yatras. Even before that, people had undertaken yatras. “Therefore, I laugh at such comments.”

“They (the Congress) cannot compete with us,” Mr Advani declared. He said he was eagerly looking forward to his 8000 km “exhilarating journey” across the length and breadth of the country, hoping that he would tell the people about the NDA government’s policies and programmes to make India a developed nation by 2020 and a frontrunner in the comity of nations under the “inspiring leadership of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.”

Mr Advani said not only people of the country, but in foreign countries also, Vajpayee-led government’s performance was appreciated.

He said he was carrying the message of stability and good governance in polity, unity and harmony in society, faster economic growth and all-round development of the country. Before leaving for the airport, Mr Advani was presented a “siropa”, “kirpan”, a shawl, some books on Sikh history and a photograph of Guru Nanak by the Delhi State Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) faction at his residence.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Asserting that making India a developed nation was NDA’s main plank in the Lok Sabha poll, Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani said on Tuesday that those criticising his ‘Bharat Uday Yatra’ were seeking to manipulate the vote bank politics by shifting the focus from key issues of good governance and development.

“The adversaries of the yatra have come to the conclusion that the track record of the NDA government has been impeccable on issues of governance and development,” Mr Advani told reporters at the airport here on his way to Kanyakumari where he is to begin the yatra tomorrow. — PTI


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