Home > News > Elections 2004 >
Vajpayee laments Gujarat, calls for Hindu-Muslim amity
April 22, 2004 19:28 IST
Trying to reach out to the Muslim community, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Thursday lamented the communal riots in Gujarat that left hundreds of people dead and many more affected and urged the people to take a resolve not to allow repeat of such incidents.
''Jo Gujarat mein hua nahin hona chahiye tha. Aiye hum faisla karein ki kabhi doosra Gujarat nahin hoga. Hinduon aur Musalmanon ko ek doosre ko shak ki nigah se nahin dekhna chahiye (What happened in Gujarat should not have happened. Let us resolve not to allow another Gujarat to happen anywhere else. Hindus and Muslims should not view each other with mistrust)," Vajpayee said in his impassioned speech at an election meeting in Kishanganj, BIhar to canvass for the lone Muslim member of his cabinet Syed Shahnawaz Hussain.
Vajpayee claimed that the number of communal riots had come down drastically during the six years of NDA rule.
Referring to the easing of tensions between India and Pakistan, he said, "If we can walk the path of peace with our estranged neighbour, why cannot we settle our own problems peacefully within our own country? Removing mistrust between the two communities is most important."
He said some elements accuse the Bharatiya Janata Party of being communal. ''My government has never discriminated against anybody on communal lines. We have treated everybody equally. We want everybody to feel safe and secure."
With a view to giving a fresh thrust to agriculture, his government had constituted a commission on farmers, which would submit its report soon, to highlight problems faced by farmers and suggest remedial measures.
"Our foreign exchange reserves have swelled and granaries are brimming with foodgrains. Things are fast improving. We have grown from an importer to become an exporter of foodgrains to 25 nations," Vajpayee said but stressed the need for diversification in cropping for enhanced returns to the farmers.
During its six years in power, the National Democratic Alliance government had initiated a number of steps for improving education, medicare and infrastructure.
It has amended the Constitution making primary education mandatory. "We want every child to go to school, no person to die for want of medicine, no family without a house and no village without roads, electricity or safe drinking water. The Golden Quadrilateral project and the proposed scheme for inter-linking of rivers bear testimony to our commitment to development," he said.
"No progress can be achieved without good all-weather roads. We cannot tame nature but to some extent control the flow of surplus water, which goes waste by flowing into the sea by inter-linking rivers, which would go a long way in tackling recurrent floods and drought which pose a major challenge to country's economy."
Roads and rails are vital to any country's development and with a vastly improved communication network India will prosper, he said.
The Gujarat Riots: Complete Coverage