Thursday, February 13, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Advani comes to Dhumal’s defence
Tribune Reporters

Dharamsala, February 12
While seeking a positive vote for the unprecedented development by the BJP government during its five-year tenure in Himachal Pradesh Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani lamented at the political degradation, which was evident from the ‘baseless’ corruption charges being levelled against Mr P.K. Dhumal.

“It is surprising that while there was no talk on any scandals and scams during the entire five-year BJP regime in Himachal Pradesh, all of a sudden, when elections were announced, serious corruption charges were levelled against the Chief Minister”, said Mr Advani, while addressing an election rally here today. Coming out in defence of Mr Dhumal, he said had all this been true, it should have been brought out in the public earlier and the party too would have taken note of it. Without naming Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, he said it was unfortunate that wild allegations about Mr Dhumal’s properties in Jalandhar were are being levelled.

“Assess the five-year performance of the Dhumal government and then decide whether they deserve to be given a second chance,” remarked Mr Advani, adding that he would seek a positive vote for the BJP rather than asking the voters not to vote for the Congress. Highlighting the extensive development undertaken by the state government in the field of education, power, health, industry and road construction, he said this was unmatched even by the four-decade rule of the Congress.

Urging the people to vote for the BJP, he said the outcome of the Assembly poll in a state affected the national scenario and it was only with the joint efforts of the Central and state governments that the dream of making India a developed country could be fulfilled. “Even today, we are considered a developing nation, where basic facilities like water, power and roads are missing. I want to assure you that by 2020, we will be in the list of developed nations like the USA, the UK and Japan,” he said.

He said with the ambitious project of interlinking of rivers and road network in every part of the country, the 21st century would be in the name of India. “A task force headed by Mr Suresh Prabhu has been constituted. If we can achieve this, there will be no looking back,” he stated.

Mr Advani said Himachal Pradesh had the potential to become a model hill state and could become the Switzerland of India. “Himachal Pradesh not only has abundant natural beauty, but has immense tourism potential, which needs to be tapped,” he said.

KULU: “General Musharraf has changed his language but not behaviour. We will not talk until he changes his behaviour”, Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani said, while addressing an election rally here on Wednesday.

He said India had built world opinion against terrorism. He said Pakistan had given shelter to criminals like Dawood Ibrahim and others.

Mr Advani expressed surprise at General Musharraf’s comment on the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir being a freedom struggle. He asked whether the killing of innocent people, including women and children, was a fight for freedom and whether attacks on the Raghunath temple in Jammu and Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar was a fight for freedom.

The Deputy Prime Minister said the BJP Yuva Morcha had organised an international youth conference on terrorism in Delhi. He appealed to the world community to stop aiding those countries which supported terrorism.

Calling upon the people to vote for the BJP, Mr Advani said the party would get positive votes for development. He said the BJP had retained power in Goa and Gujarat on the plank of development and this would be repeated in Himachal Pradesh. He lauded the achievements of the Dhumal government in power projects, education and industries.


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