M A I N   N E W S

PM offers to resolve Kashmir through talks
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 26
Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee today called for an era of peace and cooperation between the neighbouring countries and offered to resolve all issues including the Kashmir problem through bilateral dialogue.

Addressing a rally after the culmination of the first phase of 4,300 km ‘Bharat Uday Yatra’ of Deputy Prime Minister, Lal Krishan Advani here today, Mr Vajpayee said discussion was the only option available to Pakistan and India as they could not afford further waste of precious human and economic resources. He asked Pakistan to analyse past conflicts when it lost Bangladesh while the issue remained un-resolved.

Recounting a series of initiative, taken by him to improve relations with Pakistan including bus ride to Lahore, Mr Vajpayee sought to silence critics who argued that Pakistan could not be trusted. He said with improvement of relations, cricket was being played instead of gunfire across the border. He further said that after attempts of Pakistan to capture Kargil hills after his visit to Pakistan, India got its territory vacated which showed strength and determination of its forces. Mr Vajpayee said that India did not succumb to any pressure including the USAs on the issue of Kargil. “It was our clear stand that Indian Army won’t go back to barracks till the vacation of its captured part,” he said. Mr Vajpayee said that after the Kargil conflict and failure of Agra summit, he had made it clear that his third attempt should be considered the final one to create permanent thaw in the region. However, good sense prevailed and India hoped to strengthen friendly relations. Both the countries could progress with mutual trust and cooperation. The Prime Minister, however, said that India did not believe in doing injustice nor allowing any other country to do injustice to India.

Ridiculing failure of the Congress party for reaching political alliance with certain political parties, Mr Vajpayee said that it could get neither “Maya nor Mulayam”. However, the BJP was maintaining ties with its political allies including the Shiromani Akali Dal. He said his party had never adopted wrong means to come to power as it always wanted to go to people on specific agenda of overall development.

Mr Vajpayee said that the National Democratic Alliance was not an alliance to grab power but it was against the Congress party which had ruined the country in the past. He said the NDA had ruled the country for six years while many Prime Ministers including Mr Deve Gowda, Mr Inder Kumar Gujral, Mr Charn Singh and Mr Chander Shekhar were installed and then toppled before their terms completed.

Mr Vajpayee said that there was need of another Green Revolution for realising dreams of ‘shining India’. He expected good crop this time too and assured the farmers that their produce would be lifted well in time. Stressing the need of diversification of crops, Mr Vajpayee suggested that they should grow edible oils or other cash crops which were being imported these days.

Mr Vajpayee who seemed unhappy over poor turn-out of BJP workers in the rally said that he would like to come to Amritsar again to address an election rally. Today, I am here to receive the ‘Rath Yatra’ of Mr Advani completed in 17 days. The motorised ‘Rath Yatra’ of Mr Advani was launched from Kanya Kumari on March 10.

Mr Advani who was looking relaxed after the culmination of his ‘Yatra’ said that he had covered 73 parliamentary constituencies including nine in Punjab. He claimed that during his 17-day-long ‘Yatra’ he met people of cross section of the society who had given an impression that the BJP would sweep the Lok Sabha elections.

He claimed the mood was similar to that of 1977 elections or election held after the assassination of Ms Indira Gandhi. He said second phase of his ‘Bharat Uday Yatra’ would be launched from March 30 from Gujarat to Jagannathpuri in Orissa.

Mr Advani said that the NDA had set deadline for the completion of India shining by the year 2020.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, a former Chief Minister, said that motive of the, rath yatra, of Mr Advani was to tell people about the achievements of the NDA government to countrymen.

Mr Badal said that there was apprehension of rigging of elections by the Capt Amarinder Singh government. He asked the Prime Minister to ensure free and fair elections in the state. Mr Badal alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh to scuttled the installation of the oil refinery in Bathinda district.


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