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Entire India is not shining: Vajpayee
April 15, 2004 19:13 IST
Last Updated: April 15, 2004 20:46 IST
Anguished over the stampede tragedy in Lucknow, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Thursday said the shock has brought in realisation that parts of the country may be shining but the other darker aspects of life in India cannot be ignored.
"This should never have happened. It was an accident. So many women had come to get the sarees. This is something I have not yet understood," he told NDTV 24 x 7 about the stampede in Lucknow, which resulted in the death of 21 women and a child.
"There are several aspects of India. While some aspects are shining, there are also some dark aspects. We got a shock. So just by seeing the shining part will not work. We have to see the other aspects too," he said.
The Prime Minister said a legislation would be brought barring people of foreign origin form holding high offices and it would be passed 'if we get majority' but only after an honest debate on the issue.
Denying that he had legitimised the foreign origin issue against Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Vajpayee said, "There is no question of my legitimising it. It has become an issue of debate but has been linked to Gandhi."
On the foreign origin issue, he recalled that it was the Nationalist Congress Party, which had broken ranks with the Congress on this issue. If it had not split the Congress, it wouldn't have become such a big issue.
Asked about the personal attacks against Gandhi by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and BJP MP Vinay Katiyar, the Prime Minister said, "They should not have made those remarks. Despite being told not to do so, these are repeated. It is unfortunate."
Vajpayee has been repeatedly attacked by the Opposition for being an informer for the British, a charge he emphatically denies.
The Prime Minister recalled that since he started contesting elections, the 1942 issue has been following him. "Everyone knows I had no role, nothing for which I should be ashamed of," he said.
On the Gujarat riots, the Prime Minister said he condemned them from day one. However, he had said that the riots could not be seen in isolation from the Godhra train massacre.
"When I saw the relief camps in Ahmedabad, I had not realised the gravity of the manner in which Hindus had been burnt alive in Godhra. I first thought this was just another riot, but I realised just what had sparked it off. I do not justify what happened in Gujarat, (but) what happened in Godhra was wrong. What happened post-Godhra was also wrong," he said.
He admitted there was a debate on what to do with the Narendra Modi government but the final decision was that of the party. He admitted that the victims in the Best Bakery case had not got justice.
On Ayodhya, he said, "Resolving the issue was not on my agenda. I tried to get the communities to talk but ultimately it is an issue that cannot be resolved by me as Prime Minister alone. It requires the support of the sadhu, sants and the Muslim community. Only then, can it be resolved."
Asked whether he saw the linking of roads as his biggest achievement, he said, "Next, I would like to see the inter-linking of rivers."