Fernandes blasts Congress, UF
Union Defence Minister and Samata Party leader George Fernandes said the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition's national agenda will preserve and promote secularism in the country.
Speaking in favour of the confidence motion moved by Prime
Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Fernandes made a scathing attack on the Congress and the United Front. In reality, they are not worried about secularism but only interested in capturing power, he said.
Exposing the Congress and the UF's inner contradictions and conflicting characteristics, Fernandes said that in their election manifestoes they have levelled serious charges against each other on the vital issues of corruption, communalism and economic reforms.
He said the Congress and UF were suffering from serious ideological contradictions and had united only to capture power.
In its manifesto, the Congress had cast serious aspersions about the national and patriotic spirits of the Telugu Desam Party, the Asom Gana Parishad and the Shiromani Akali Dal. The
Treasury benches responded, ''Shame, shame.''
Refuting the comments of leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sharad Pawar, Fernandes said his government's swadeshi policy stood for patriotism. At one point, he advised Pawar to read properly the hidden meaning of swadeshi policy propagated by Mahatma Gandhi.
The Congress's Tariq Ahmed took serious objection to Fernandes's accusation that, in the 45-year Congress rule, the economic condition of the country had remained stagnated with 58 per cent of the total population earning less than Rs 10 per day and 650 million people Rs 1.25 per day each.
The defence minister said at his government would endeavour to resolve the issue of the country's territory through dialogue. He
said that his government would maintain constant vigil to protect
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