Saturday, October 26, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

PM vows to crush Pak monster
Tribune News Service

Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee addressing the NDA rally in the Capital on Friday.
— Tribune photo Mukesh Aggarwal

New Delhi, October 25
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today said that Pakistan was emerging as a “terrorist state” and expressed his government’s determination to crush this “monster”, while warning the international community against adopting double standards in the fight against global terrorism.

In a hard-hitting and to-the-point speech at the NDA rally here, organised to mark the completion of three years of the government, Mr Vajpayee touched upon various issues confronting the nation and devoted a major portion of the speech on the challenges posed by terrorism.

In the presence of top leaders of the BJP and its allies, the Prime Minister, without taking the name of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and VHP leader Praveen Togadia, warned against repeat of Gujarat-like incident in the country and use of indecent language by people in the public sphere.

Deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani and BJP President M. Venkaiah Naidu at the function in New Delhi on Friday.
— PTI photo

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah addresses the meeting.
— PTI photo

Making a scathing attack on the western neighbour, he said, “Pakistan is emerging as a terrorist state. This demon has to be eliminated. We have the resolve to end it. But for that we have to prepare ourselves mentally.”

Condemning all those using terror as a weapon, the Prime Minister said, “The world must differentiate between terror and a terrorist state, but they are not prepared to distinguish between the two. The world has to be one in facing the challenge posed to mankind by terrorism.”

Mr Vajpayee said India had been a victim of terrorism for the past 20 years, but the international community had paid scant attention to New Delhi’s concerns. But the September 11 terror attacks in the USA and more recently in Indonesia and the ongoing hostage crisis in Russia had forced the world community to realise the growing threat posed by terrorism.

Referring to the successful completion of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, the Prime Minister said, “People used to make fun of us as if this was not possible. But we kept our word.”

Terming the successful elections in Jammu and Kashmir as an event which would change history, Mr Vajpayee flanked by Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, NDA convener and Defence Minister George Fernandes and other leaders of the NDA, said, “The terrorists in the state are hiding their faces in the wake of the successful polls there.”

Apparently referring to the impasse in Jammu and Kashmir over government formation, he said political parties there should work together.

“When 23 parties can come together and run the government successfully for three years, then why can they not do it in Jammu and Kashmir,” Mr Vajpayee asked, taking a dig at the Congress.

Referring to the recent communal violence in Gujarat, the Prime Minister said, “Gujarat incidents cannot be forgotten and we should take a pledge that it will not happen again.”

However, Mr Vajpayee maintained that the biggest achievement of the NDA government was that it has ensured peace and harmony during its three-year rule.

Asserting that there was no place for violence in politics, he also urged political parties to maintain decorum and not cross limits. He also wanted leaders of various organisations in the public domain not to use indecent language.

Condemning the killing of Dalits in Haryana’s Jhajjar district, Mr Vajpayee, seeking an apology from the state Chief Minister and INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala, asked whether Dalits did not have the right to live.

Asserting that there was political stability in the country for the past three years and the nation had marched on the path of progress and development, Mr Vajpayee said there had been improvement in the economic front, inflation was well under control and foreign exchange reserves were comfortable.

The Prime Minister asserted that this government would meet all challenges and sought the cooperation of all political parties in this regard.

Expressing concern over the drought situation in most parts of the country, the Prime Minister said the Centre would extend all possible help to the states in dealing with the situation.

He said the country not only had sufficient food stocks, but it was now exporting foodgrain, thanks to the policies pursued by his government.

He, however, said the states also had the responsibility to ensure that relief provided by the Centre reached the needy.

Referring to water scarcity in the country, Mr Vajpayee said had there been an attempt to link all major rivers immediately after Independence, we would not have been facing this situation.

In this connection, Mr Vajpayee obliquely referred to the raging Cauvery water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and wondered why the two states could not resolve the issue through negotiations, instead of rushing to courts.

Dismissing reports of differences between him and Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, the Prime Minister accused the media of making a mountain out of a molehill.

Referring to reports about a tussle between him and Mr Advani, he said, “Baat ka batangad ho raha hai (mountains are being made of molehills). We (Vajpayee and Advani) have worked together and will continue to do so.”

Taking a dig at the media with regard to reports about his health over the past few days, Mr Vajpayee said newspapers were only looking for sensational headlines.

With his characteristic laugh, Mr Vajpayee said, “I was asked to speak. I wanted Advani to speak. I hope there will not be a headline tomorrow that Advani did not speak.”

Earlier, Mr Fernandes asserted that the withdrawal of troops from the border with Pakistan was a well-thought-out decision as the objective of the deployment had been achieved.

A galaxy of NDA leaders, including BJP President Venkaiah Naidu, Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah participated in the rally.

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