M A I N   N E W S

We are one, PM says of Advani
S. Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, April 5
Addressing people of his home constituency, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today sought to dispel the popular impression of “differences” between him and Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, saying that had the latter not wished, he would not have had the country’s top executive job.

“There are no differences between me and Mr Advani. I get really surprised when people talk about differences between us. I have become Prime Minister with the cooperation of all. If he (Advani) did not wish, I would not have become Prime Minister, Mr Vajpayee said in the presence of Mr Advani, who reached here as part of his ongoing Bharat Uday Yatra.

This suo mottu statement of the Prime Minister came probably due to Opposition parties’ criticism that there were lot of differences between the top two BJP leaders and that Mr Advani had launched the yatra because he was keen on becoming the next Prime Minister.

Mr Vajpayee also made a scathing attack on the Congress for calling him a “British informer” in 1942.

Hurt by the Congress accusation, Mr Vajpayee, in front of his home crowd, accused the Congress of crossing all limits in its desperate attempt to muster votes.

It was absolutely wrong. He was never an informer to anybody. Had that been the case, he would have left politics long ago. “I, as a student in Gwalior, actively participated in the freedom movement. Even when my family members forced me to go to village for continuation of my education, I continued to be in the forefront of the movement,” Mr Vajpayee said, addressing a massive rally here at the Ambedkar Grounds.

Mr Vajpayee, who during his nearly 30-minute speech spoke a great deal on development and the BJP’s vision to make India a superpower by 2020, urged the people to give a clear mandate to the BJP-led NDA coalition.

“Stability is the key for development. Over the past five or six years we have been able to give you a stable coalition government, which has successfully overcome many problems of the past and put the country on the road to development, We want your mandate once again for countinuing the developmental work,” he said.

Taking advantage of the personal rapport he enjoys with the people of Lucknow, Mr Vajpayee said there was the question of who would get the majority, i.e., 272 seats. “If you vote for the party here and there then we can’t achieve the target. We need your whole-hearted support,” he said.

“Your vote is not “charanamrit” (holy water given in temple) that you will distribute it to all (parties). It is a question of the future of India, continuation of the development activities and resolution of problems confronting the nation,” Mr Vajpayee said.

“I am confident that Lucknow will be able to give this assurance that we will succeed in our yagna of democracy,” he said.

“Many people have already made me Prime Minister. I have not become Prime Minister yet (of the 14th Lok Sabha).... Only when you give the required majority to us, can you have a person of your choice as Prime Minister,” he said in an apparent attempt to remove any complacency among the party cadre.

Accusing the Congress of adopting a pessimistic attitude on the country’s growth, Mr Vajpayee said, “Congress President Sonia Gandhi had in Parliament dubbed the BJP’s projection of a double-digit GDP as “Mungeri Lal’s dream”. What did they have to say now when the country had witnessed a whopping 10.4 per cent GDP? he asked.

“Our economy is growing from strength to strength, our forex reserve is over $ 100 billion, we are re-paying external debts and now have started extending loans to other countries. There is also growing realisation among the people that India could become a superpower,” Mr Vajpayee said, adding all this had come about due to sincere efforts and good policies adopted by the NDA government, which needed to be continued.

Mr Advani, who was received by the Prime Minister and other top BJP leaders of Uttar Pradesh, including two former Chief Ministers Kalyan Singh and Rajnath Singh, said when the BJP talked of ‘India Shining’ it did not mean that poverty, illiteracy, etc, had been completely eradicated.

“The ‘India Shining’ slogan reflects the political stability, which has come about after several years of instability, under the Vajpayee-led government, the confidence that has got instilled in the people that India can also become a superpower, the positive image that has come about in the community of nations and the visible face of development that has swept the country,” Mr Advani said.

“The growing confidence among the people (about the prospect of India’s development) is the biggest asset,” he said, adding, “We could have been dubbed hypocrites had we claimed that all ills of the country had been removed in the five or six years of Vajpayee government.”

Claiming a positive mood among the people in favour of the NDA government, Mr Advani warned party workers and cadres against complacency.

Significantly, the top two leaders who have been consistantly raising the foreign-origin issue in public meetings, did not touch the issue here.

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