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Ayodhya issue will be resolved after polls: Advani

By Our Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, MARCH 11. After a whistle-stop election tour of Kerala lasting a day and a half to put the policies of the National Democratic Alliance in perspective for the people of the State who had been spurning the overtures of the BJP so far, the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani's Bharat Uday Yatra crossed over from Palakkad to Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu this evening.

Mr. Advani covered a whole range of subjects from the mandir issue to the increasing confidence of minorities in the BJP, the essence of Hindutva, the Congress' chargesheet against the Vajpayee Government and his previous yatras in the press conference and half a dozen public meetings he addressed during the Kerala leg. He also hit out at both the political combinations which had been ruling the State by turns and "chided" the people for not allowing the lotus to bloom in Kerala.

Mr. Advani started off his day with a press conference at Kottayam, the Christian heartland, in which he pleaded against using Ayodhya as an electoral issue. He was confident of resolving the issue after the election. It had been discussed in the fora of the NDA and the consensus was to settle the issue on the basis of court verdict or dialogue. "I am optimistic that the groundwork done by so many people so far would lead to an agreement between the two communities after the election", he said. Hindutva merely meant Indianness. On the Congress' chargesheet against the Vajpayee Government, Mr. Advani said he was happy that the Congress was raising issues relating to economic performance. He declined to comment on issues such as the VHP's criticism of his disapproval of the Gujarat carnage.

Addressing a public meeting in Kottayam, he criticised the political combinations led by the CPI(M) and the Congress. Kerala had become a prisoner of political ideologies and was missing opportunities because of the culture based on negativism which was perpetrated by these parties, he said. Though they maintained the fiction of political competition, they were actually hand in glove, he alleged. While the Communist parties were emerging as the cheerleaders of a declining, discredited and dynastic Congress, the latter was embracing the failed economic dogmas of Marxism. Even though they fought in Kerala, they were in direct alliance in many other States.

Mr. Advani focussed on the development agenda of the NDA and sought the people's mandate to achieve the goal of making India a developed country by 2020 during the public meetings he addressed in Muvattupuzha and Angamali. He said that the biggest disadvantage the party faced was from its wrong image as a communal party. But things were changing. Many leaders from the Christian and Muslim communities who approached him in the recent past expressed confidence in the Government. They complained that the previous Governments had treated them as mere vote banks.

Mr. Advani lashed out at the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, and the dynastic rule which the party was trying to perpetuate in the public meetings he addressed in Thrissur, which is considered as the cultural capital and Palakkad as one of the granaries of Kerala. He even questioned the democratic bonafides of Congress leaders other than Jawaharlal Nehru. He predicted that the Congress was going to come a cropper this time.

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