M A I N   N E W S

Advani sings Ram “dhun” again
Tribune News Service & PTI

Mumbai, December 28
Recalling the strong ties between the RSS and his party, BJP President L.K. Advani today said that the organisation’s mission would not be complete without the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

In his presidential address at the start of the party’s three-day national convention, he referred to the “unachieved task” of the construction of the temple and said: “The BJP’s mission will not be complete till a temple befitting Bhagwan Shri Ram is built at his place of birth.

“Each one of us must re-dedicate ourselves to this mission, for Shri Ram is not just a religious icon, he is also a symbol of the Indian ethos, culture and unity,” he said.

The BJP chief lauded Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for the decision to ban cow slaughter. “The high court said the ban was against provisions of the Constitution. An appeal was filed in the Supreme Court and the ban was upheld,” he said.

“The way we have exposed pseudo-secularism, no one else has done so,” Mr Advani said.

He spoke about Gujarat and Mr Modi soon after he admitted that the party was passing through a “bad patch” for the past 25 weeks, but declined to blame the media, saying that “I was also a journalist and ..they also have the right to write.”

He also blamed the “Congress culture” for corruption within the BJP ranks. He said the BJP had “fallen victim to Congressisation”.

“The BJP’s ideological roots hold no great importance for such people,” Mr Advani said, making a passing reference to his party colleagues who were expelled from the Lok Sabha. “While that does not justify the actions of some of our own members.... it reinforces our conviction that unless the Congress culture is uprooted lock, stock and barrel from our system, the task of combating corruption will never be accomplished,” he said.

He went on to insist that Congress President Sonia Gandhi should step down as head of the National Advisory Council following the Iraq oil payoff controversy.

His speech came amid concerns among BJP delegates that the Sanjay Joshi sex scandal could cause further damage to the party.

“There will be some damage to our image but it will pass,” BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said. Others kept their fingers crossed hoping that the tape does not make it to television. “We would feel bad if that happens,” another BJP leader said.

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