M A I N   N E W S

Advani lists 3 ‘destabilisers’
1. Sonia 2. Left 3. DMK
S Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

Bhopal, September 22
Seeing a window of opportunity in possible snap polls, Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani and an aspiring prime ministerial candidate today launched a blistering attack on UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and the Congress, calling them as the "biggest destabilising forces" in the country. Advani didn’t spare even the communists and the DMK and termed them as “other destabilisers”.

Addressing a well-attended rally here, the BJP leader, in the presence of top leaders of the party, returned to his pet theme and blamed the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government under Sonia Gandhi's leadership for not only hurting the sentiments of people, but also challenging the ethos of the country by filing an affidavit in the Supreme Court negating historicity and existence of Lord Ram.

The Left is the destabiliser no. 1 and the DMK is the destabiliser no. 2. But the biggest destabiliser of the country is Sonia Gandhi and the party she heads, Advani said.

While in 1975, the Congress by clamping emergency served a severe blow to democracy, now the Sonia Gandhi-led Manmohan Singh Government is pursuing divisive politics, he said.

I am telling you no officer or a single minister can ever dare to commit such a blasphemous blunder of filing an affidavit unabashedly denying the very existence of Sri Rama, he said in his effort to revive the Ramjanmabhoomi temple movement spirit and fervour.

Even the law officer of government of India Gopal Subramaniam, in an interview, claimed that he wrote the draft under instruction to the best of my belief, none other than Gandhi can pass such an instruction, as it is naturally difficult for her to understand Indian ethos, Advani said.

Asking the people to be prepared to dislodge the UPA government at the Centre, which has risked the national integrity by indulging in divisive politics, Advani said "I am here to make you all understand why it should be taught a lesson."

Asking the DMK to desist from making statements which will weaken the national fabric and will have a deleterious effect on the unity and integrity of the country, Advani said the Congress should ask its allies to desist from making such statements.

"They (Congress) should come out clean. They should ask their allies (the DMK) to desist from making such statements. The Congress president and the Prime Minister should apologise to the nation for submitting such a blasphemous affidavit in Supreme court," he said.

Attacking the Left parties, he said they are not only trying to destabilise the government at the Centre, but are trying to rule the country with just 60 MPs in Parliament. "We can't allow that to continue," he said.

Referring to the imbroglio on the Indo-US nuclear deal, Advani said Left parties opposition to the deal emanates from their “anti-Americanism”. "If a similar deal was being agreed too between India and the China, they would not have had any opposition. They would even welcome invasion of this country by China," he said. Earlier in the day, the party adopted a resolution on the Ram Setu issue, which demanded an unqualified apology from the government and declare Ram Setu as National Heritage.

Strongly condemning the affidavits submitted by the government in the Supreme Court, former Union minister Murli Manohar Joshi, who moved the resolution, said instead of totally withdrawing the affidavit and apologising for its submission, the UPA government is trying to submit a supplementary affidavit and the shipping ministry wants to file an appeal against the stay granted by the Supreme Court.



Setu: Centre set to go ahead

Chennai, September 22
Asserting that the Centre would go ahead with the present alignment of the Sethusamudram Canal Project (SSCP) after convincing the Supreme Court, union minister for shipping and road transport T.R.Baalu today said the project could not be implemented with any alternative alignment. Replying to a question on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi's remarks that the DMK's stand was to implement the SSCP and not to demolish the Ram Setu, Baalu clarified that those remarks did not mean that Karunanidhi was for an alternative alignment.

He said his leader's remarks were out of anguish to clarify that the party's intention was to carry out a developmental project and not to demolish the Adam's bridge.

The minister said he did not see any such thing as “Ram Setu” and he knew only Adam's bridge, which was a structure formed of sand shoals and such structures existed in many parts of the world.

The Indian map since Independence showed only Adam's bridge and he was not aware of any Ram Setu, he said.

It was the BJP-led government which approved the present alignment in October 2002.

The “fourth alignment” being advocated by the party was rejected on April 8, 1999, by the then union minister for environment Suresh Prabhu for having "serious environmental implications with respect to marine life and bio-sphere reserve".

The project report on the SSCP, submitted to the then union minister Arun Jaitley, had clearly stated that the proposed route would orignate from the Gulf of Mannar and extend towards east and further north-east of Pamban Island and cut through the Adam's bridge.

Accepting the alignment, then union minister Thirunavukkarasar suggested a depth of 7 m, while another minister V.P. Goel suggested more than 9 m.

The UPA government was only going ahead with an alignment chosen by the BJP, he said. Now, the BJP was trying to incite "communal riots" to gain political mileage in the Gujarat assembly elections, he said, adding that the party would not succeed in its attempts.

It was not proper to oppose a development project for political gains, he said adding, that he was ready to talk with religious heads and BJP leaders on the issue.

When questioned on other alignments, he said everyone had agreed that the first, second and third ones could not be implemented due to environmental reasons and formation of turbidity. The fifth alignment would not be desirable since the ships would have to negotiate a sharp curve, he said.

The newsletter issued by the union ministry of coal and mines under Uma Bharti in 2003 said that the sedimental deposits in the Palk Strait up to a depth of 200 m was as old as five to seven lakh years.

But, the Ram Setu was said to be a construction before 17.5 lakh years and how it could be found at a depth of 20 m, he asked and appealed to religious leaders to consider this issue.

"We will put forth our views before the Supreme Court and abide by its decision. We will bring all arguments as far as the scientific issues are concerned and submit all documents before it," Baalu said.

When asked about the opposition to the present alignment, he said only the BJP and some outfits were opposing it.

"As a union minister I should act as per the Constitution, which says it is the duty of the government to develop scientific temper," he said. Denying that there was any problem between the Congress and the DMK, he said all ministers were working together.

On questions of commercial viability and environmental concerns, the minister said those were settled issues after thorough examination by experts from the NEERI, IIT and National Institute of Ocean Technology.

On Karunanidhi's remarks on Lord Ram, Baalu said his leader was was only quoting from Valmiki's Ramayana. — PTI



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