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Vajpayee-Advani rally flops
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow |
April 05, 2004 19:04 IST
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his deputy Lal Kishenchand Advani's joint rally in Lucknow on Monday turned out to be a damp squib.
Never before did Vajpayee address a crowd of barely 25,000 in his own parliamentary constituency.
With Advani in tow and that too on the last leg of his 'Bharat Uday Yatra', a large crowd was expected.
However, the rally had disappointment in store for the Bharatiya Janata Party stalwarts.
What left the gathering even more disinterested were the long discourses by the two leaders who, significantly, did not mention the ticklish issues of Ayodhya and Sonia Gandhi's 'foreign origin'.
While Advani promised a "new and shining India under Vajpayee's leadership for the third time", the PM devoted much of his speech to his relationship with his deputy and the opposition charge that he betrayed freedom fighters in the 1942 Quit India Movement.
"Those who say there are some differences between me and Advaniji are basically envious of our five-decade long relationship," he said. To emphasise his point he added, "Well, if Advani did not want I would not have been prime minister today."
"I am pained to find that some people have been accusing me of betraying the 1942 movement and that I had joined hands with the British. I wish to tell you the truth. I was a student of high school in Gwalior at that time and because police were hauling up young people, my family members sent me to my village. But there again youth were taking active part in the movement. When the police hauled me up, I explained to them that I was a student in Gwalior and had no role in the movement , but still if they wanted they could keep me in custody," he recalled.
"But contrary to what is often made out against me, I never gave any evidence against anyone... I could never have indulged in any such shameful act, and if I had done, I would not be standing here alive; I would have renounced everything and faded into wilderness.
"There has to be a limit to use of strategies to win an election; certain moral codes must be followed and nobody should cross those limits or morality. After all elections are not everything, there is much more to life."
Earlier, Vajpayee spoke of his government's achievements.
Both Vajpayee and Advani were emphatic that the 2004 Lok Sabha polls were not just an ordinary election. "It is a mandate for building a new and shining India; it is not an election of just an MP but a prime minister," Advani reminded the gathering.