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South no longer Congress bastion: Advani
March 15, 2004 18:09 IST
Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani on Monday asserted the Congress party could no longer treat the southern states as it pocket borough and win votes on 'its ability to exploit poverty and backwardness'.
Complete coverage of Advani's yatra
Advani said he is making such a contention after the response he has got for his Bharat Uday Yatra.
Advani expressed confidence that the 'soaring popularity' of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee would also translate into an unequivocal mandate for the BJP and its allies in the southern states too.
Maintaining that the Congress was virtually non-existent in the country, particularly in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, he said its claim to be a national party now rested on a 'delusion' that large number of people in the southern states would vote for it as a 'matter of habit'.
Advani said the Congress of today lacked purpose, direction, values and leadership and it was 'inherently unsuited' to the task of providing India a wholesome environment for channelling its energies. "It is unsuited for governance," he said.
He said he would particularly like to stress the Congress' lack of application to the serious water shortage and drought facing Karnataka. This was a problem that NDA government was determined to tackle on a war footing. "We will ensure that Vajpayee's second dream project of interlinking India's rivers becomes a reality," he said.
He said the message of national pride the yatra sought to communicate had touched a chord in the people of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.