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Mid-term elections any time now: Advani

Neena Vyas

NEW DELHI: The country could face a mid-term Lok Sabha election any time, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L. K. Advani said at a meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s parliamentary party which he chaired on Thursday.

The political situation had changed dramatically after the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)-Left standoff over the nuclear agreement with the United States, he said, adding that the UPA government might not complete its five-year tenure.

“The BJP should be ready to face elections,” he said, asking the party MPs to work in their constituencies and carry the political message to people that only one coalition government at the Centre was able to complete its tenure — the Vajpayee government of 1999.

Mr. Advani said the UPA coalition was built on opportunism and power-sharing: “The only thing common among the UPA constituents and their supporters is their antipathy towards the BJP.” In the wake of the UPA-Left standoff, it would be difficult for the Manmohan Singh government to last its full term, he added.

The other issue that was exercising the BJP was the attempt to give a push to the recommendations of the Srikrishna Commission.

BJP Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha V. K. Malhotra alleged that Congress president Sonia Gandhi had directed the Maharashtra Chief Minister to proceed with action on the basis of the Commission’s recommendations.

He said the timing of the decision was linked to the Gujarat Assembly elections due later this year.

His charge was that the Congress wanted to polarise Hindus and Muslims and create a riot in Gujarat to get the Muslim votes.

Asked whether the BJP was opposed to taking any action against the culprits of the 1993 Mumbai riots, Mr. Malhotra said 14 long years had passed. “Why wasn’t any action taken in 1999?”

He pointed out that the Congress had been in power in the State for the past seven years.

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