M A I N   N E W S

Muslim support must for progress, says PM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 21
In an open appeal to the minority community ahead of the remaining three crucial phases of the Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today said without the support of Muslims the country could not progress.

"I need the support not because of elections, but because I have been striving for years that Hindus and Muslims in the country live together, foster brotherhood, help each other and feel secure so that together they could take the country forward," he told a group of Muslim leaders who came to extend their support to him under the banner of "Atal Bihari Vajpayee Himayat Committee."

Mr Vajpayee remarked how could the country prosper without the participation of Muslims when they had such a large presence.

The Prime Minister said he was aware of the feeling that there should not only be justice for Muslims but it should also be seen.

Without naming Pakistan, Mr Vajpayee said he had been striving for good relations with the neighbouring countries and a feeling of unity and brotherhood within the country.

Referring to the just-concluded India-Pakistan cricket tour, Mr Vajpayee said there were some players who were Muslims. "But the colour visible was only that of brotherhood. I want that this colour should be more deep."

The Prime Minister presented two "chaddars" to the group embarking on a yatra in Uttar Pradesh to seek support for the BJP-led NDA for offering at the dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer and Khwaja Bakhtiar Iaki at Mehrauli.

Khwaja Iftikhar Ahmed, national convener of the committee, said Muslims in the country supported the NDA government, which had been supporting various minority organisations.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |