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BJP to UPA: Drop DMK ministers
Political Ramlila hots up
S Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

Bhopal, September 21
With the possibility of snap poll looming large, the BJP today went ballistic on the Ram Setu issue seeking immediate dismissal of all DMK ministers at the Centre, if Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi failed to withdraw "blasphemous" remarks on Lord Ram.

“By disrespecting Lord Ram, the Congress has taken vote bank politics to its lowest point. The Congress should come clean by dismissing the DMK ministers…The Prime Minister should publicly apologise for the unpardonable crime of playing with people’s beliefs,” BJP president Rajnath Singh said addressing the National Executive Meeting of the party, which got underway here today.

Asserting that the affidavit filed on the Ram Setu issue established the UPA government’s “anti-Hindu” mindset, the BJP president said “not even the foreign rulers of the country under colonial rule had the courage to reject the existence of Lord Ram. Then why is this happening under this Congress-led government?

In an apparent attack on Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Rajnath Singh wanted to know “what are the reasons behind this, which power is guiding all this, and why is this power seeking to challenge the foundation of India’s eternal beliefs?”

Striking an emotional cord, he said “Ram Setu is not a mere structure made from rocks and stones that can be debated as to whether it is man-made or natural. On the contrary, Ram Setu is a bridge of India’s eternal values, a bridge that symbolises the foundations of dharma through the obliteration of demonic tendencies.”

“The BJP will neither tolerate nor allow insult of Hindu centres and symbols of reverence,” he said adding “the self-styled successors of Mahatma Gandhi may not have any respect for the common Hindu beliefs, but they should at the very least respect the Ram inscribed on Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial.”

The party is all set to adopt a separate resolution on the Ram Setu issue tomorrow, which would be moved by former union minister Murli Manohar Joshi, who is part of the VHP-constituted Shri Rameshwaram Ram Setu Raksha Samiti.

Rajnath Singh also made scathing attack on the ruling UPA for betraying the common man, adopting a narrow and competitive minority appeasement policies, disrespecting Lord Ram, going soft on terror and dealing with the Indo-US nuclear issue more by prejudices and less by national interest.

Trying to demolish the “aam aadmi” plank of the Congress, he said “the Centre’s Common Minimum Programme has been reduced to a Common Minimum Priority where the much touted ‘aam aadmi’ has all but vanished from the consciousness of the government.”

“High interest rates, price hike, and high taxation rates are this government’s only achievements,” he said while projecting the BJP-led NDA as the only strong, stable and viable alternative before the people.

On nuclear deal issue, he said the BJP’s opposition to the deal is not opposition for the sake of opposition, nor is it the virulent anti-Americanism of the Left Front, but it is aimed at “ preventing our strategic independence becoming strategic subservience”.

“It is clear that both the Congress and Left have never been concerned about India’s nuclear capability in the past nor present. They are only playing politics on the nuclear issue.”

“The unabated march of the Naxalites and expansion of the red corridor, the continuing saga of violence against Hindi speaking people in Assam, the overall environment of insecurity in other parts of the Northeast and general drift in the national security situation indicate the complete failure of the government in boosting the sense of security of the common man,” the BJP chief said.

Later, the party adopted a separate economic resolution on the plight of farmers, poor and labourers.

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Bad for Advani, Vajpayee says he will be back
Tribune News Service

Atal Bihari VajpayeeBhopal, September 21
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today poured cold water on leader of the opposition L.K. Advani's ambition to lead the BJP in the next Lok Sabha election by asserting that he was very much in the reckoning.

"Because of your good wishes, I am getting healthy and will soon be back among you", Vajpayee said in a one page message in Hindi to his party colleagues who are attending the party's national executive meeting here.

The message was read out by the BJP president Raj Nath Singh at the conclave’s inaugural session.

The veteran leader, who is known for his crafty statements, cited a few lines from his famous poem 'Aao phir se diya jalayen', to assert that he was ready to be a medium to destroy the UPA, like sage Dadhichi, who offered his bones to Lord Indra for making a weapon to destroy demon Vritasur.

In his open letter to partymen, he said the country was going through difficult times and the party had to meet the expectations of the people.

"I regret not being amongst you despite my desire because of medical advice, the 82-year-old BJP veteran said seeking the indulgence of his party leaders for his absence."

One sentence from his poem referring to a siege within, when he spoke of apno ke wighno ne ghera (being encircled by obstacles by our own people), has become the talk of the political circles here

Reminding that ‘there is dissension within’, Vajpayee hoped that the BJP leaders, who are meeting at a crucial juncture, would unitedly device strategies to take on the challenges ahead.

While the BJP leaders and official spokespersons are working hard to project that there was no confusion over the leadership issue and that both Atal and Advani were towering leaders, but the assertion from former Prime Minister that he will soon be back, at a time when specter of snap poll is haunting the saffron party, is being seen in the political circle as a snub to Advani, who has particularly not been circumspect about his wish to lead the next round of polls by equating his position as the leader of opposition with that of 'shadow Prime Minister'.

Earlier, realising that leadership issue would overshadow the conclave, some of the top leaders of the party tried to set speculation at rest by saying that there was no confusion within the party on the leadership issue and that it was not part of the agenda in the three day meet.

However, comments of senior BJP leaders M Venkaiah Naidu and Jaswant Singh hinted at the undercurrent within the party to project Advani as the leader.

"It is a well known fact that after Atal Bihari Vajpayee it is L.K. Advani," Venkaiah Naidu said. On the other hand, Jaswant Singh said "the confusion (on the leadership issue) is in your (media’s) mind. You are not willing to listen to what the party has to say. Our leader is Advaniji and there is no doubt about it. Atalji has been the supreme leader of our party. Advaniji has been the right hand of Atalji for over 50 years. I don't know why you raise such questions."

While Advani has not hidden his wish to lead the next round of polls, two senior leaders Yashwant Sinha and Dr Murli Manohar Joshi have cleared the air contending that the party had several leaders capable of fitting the bill and the collective leadership had not taken a decision on the leadership issue.

In a related development, to assert himself in the party, Murli Manohar Joshi has decided to push for a separate resolution on the Ram Setu issue on the second day of the BJP conclave. Earlier, the party had decided to deal with the issue as part of the overall political resolution.

Joshi’s assertion would be pleasing to the VHP as he is part of its ‘Shri Rameshwaram Ramsethu Raksha Samiti.’

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