Sunday, December 1, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Advani dares Pak to fourth war

Bhuj, November 30
Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani today dared Pakistan to fight a fourth direct war with India instead of engaging in proxy war, targeting temples and innocent civilians.

Charging Islamabad with nursing a wound since the creation of Bangladesh, he threw an open challenge to Pakistan, saying “let us fight it out face to face. We have fought thrice, let there be a fourth war.”

Kickstarting the BJP’s campaign for the Gujarat Assembly elections, Mr Advani said had Pakistan fought with the Indian security forces he would have had no reservations. “But killing of innocent civilians by attacking temples like Akshardham and Raghunath is unacceptable,” he said.

Campaigning for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Mr Advani accused the Congress of “defaming” the Government and people of the state, projecting them as “killers and criminals”.

Leading the BJP charge from the quake devastated town here, he defended Mr Modi’s performance in tackling the situation during the post-Godhra riots.

He hit out at Congress chief ministerial aspirant Shankar-sinh Vaghela for “defaming” Gujarat, its people and the country during his trip to the USA.

In a hard-hitting speech, Mr Advani said ever since the Godhra incident on February 27, “Gujaratis are being projected before the whole world as murderers and criminals”.

Recalling that he had never attacked the government in power during his visits abroad as an Opposition leader for over 25 years, Mr Advani took strong exception to the recent outbursts against Mr Modi and the BJP by Mr Vaghela during his Washington visit.

“How Gujarat has been projected abroad is very shameful. Baseless allegations were levelled against a popular Chief Minister like Mr Modi, who did a great job. But he has been projected as a great criminal. Gujarat has undergone several natural calamities but now they have to suffer humiliation at the hands of their own people,” he said.

The Deputy Prime Minister praised the state police for its “efficient” role during the riots and recalled that it had saved 300 students of a madarsa in Bhavnagar from rioters and even Marxist leaders had thanked it for that. “But the whole police force was defamed and projected as ineffective and criminals,” Mr Advani said.

Describing Mr Vaghela, a former BJP leader, as a “leftover” of the party, he said the poll would be a referendum on the people of Gujarat rather than a battle between the Congress and the BJP”.

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