Saturday, Nov 29, 2003
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By Sunny Sebastian
Addressing an election rally here, Mr. Vajpayee said the issues the people were concerned with in the current elections like power, roads and water were common in all the Congress-ruled States. "I wish they had placed a few of their achievements before the people instead of blaming the Centre."
He said he was pained to see that the campaigns this time were full of allegations and counter allegations.
Mr.Vajpayee took the opportunity to reply to the charge of vinash (destruction) levelled against the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Government led by it at the Centre by the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, in her recent election speeches.
The country had made all-round progress under the present Government and such an allegation was unfounded. "Are we Ravans to do vinash,'' he asked.
The 30-minute speech of Mr.Vajpayee covered the charges of corruption against Dilip Singh Judev, who had to quit as Union Minister. He compared the stepping down of George Fernandes earlier and Mr. Judev recently as Ministers to drive home the principled stand of the BJP.
Mr.Vajpayee defended the pursuit of the new economic policy by the country and said that it was wrong to assume that the job opportunities were shrinking due to liberalisation. He himself, after promising one crore jobs a year had initiated many steps in this direction though the Congress president was not appreciative of them.
"When Ms. Gandhi challenged the claim, I presented to her the figures in Parliament and then she did not say anything in reply. Now I notice that she is raising the same issue in her election campaigns," Mr.Vajpayee said. Now 18 lakh people work on various road schemes alone, he pointed out.
He also repeated his claim that Rajasthan alone was given about Rs.7,000 crores as drought relief assistance. "Did anyone give this much amount any time earlier," he asked.
Mr.Vajpayee perhaps made a Freudian slip when he mentioned at the outset that the elections were being held in the three States of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, leaving out Delhi. He picked on Madhya Pradesh the most, taking a dig at the Congress leadership there over the condition of roads. The Rajasthan BJP president, Vasundhara Raje Scindia, was not present.
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