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|November 10, 1998||
Thakre sees Opposition plot in price rise
Bharatiya Janata Party president Shashikant 'Kushabhau' Thakre today accused "vested interests" of "hatching a conspiracy" to defame his party's government by steeply hiking the prices of onions, salt, and other essential commodities.
Launching the party's campaign in New Delhi today for the assembly elections in four states, Thakre told the media, "There are two sets of people -- those trying to fish in troubled waters [the BJP's opponents] and profiteers -- who are directly responsible for the artificial scarcity."
Unseasonal rains had only made the situation worse, he added.
Thakre, however, conceded that there was "some delay" in the government's moves to bring down prices and maintain supplies of essential commodities.
He said a "decisive" leadership, national interests over party politics, and transparent governance were the hallmarks of the BJP, and appealed to the people of the four states to judge the party's performance vis-a-vis that of the fifty-year rule of the Congress.
The BJP president explained that the delay in arriving at decisions on important issues was due to "constant consultation with allies".
Referring to probity in public life, Thakre said there were no charges of corruption against Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee or any of his ministers, whereas the Congress regime was mired in scandals.
He said the BJP had fulfilled its promise by introducing the Lok Pal Bill and bringing the prime minister under its ambit, in spite of stiff resistance from the Congress.
Speaking on internal security, he said the government had succeeded in curbing the activities of the Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan. The situation in Kashmir had improved significantly and this year local recruitment by the ISI was practically nil, he claimed.
Defending the nuclear tests in May, he said Pokhran II had boosted the morale of the army which had been demanding modernisation of its weaponry for a long time. It had also improved the country's image.
Sanctions imposed by the United States and other countries had failed to do any harm to the Indian economy. These countries are now easing sanctions as they have realised the in-built strength of our economy, he said.
Thakre charged the Congress with ignoring national security and doing little to check terrorist and secessionist activities in parts of the country.
While taking credit for the non-occurrence of any communal violence in the seven months of the BJP-led government at the Centre and also in BJP-ruled states, Thakre said this had exposed the pseudo-secularist character of the Congress. "It has conclusively demonstrated our commitment to true secularism -- sarva dharma samabhava," he claimed.
He described today's Congress as "rootless" and said its leadership had been distanced from the country's culture and traditions.
Dubbing the Congress as a party of "opportunists, time-servers, and history-sheeters", he said the choice before the people is between "mafia raj" on the one hand and transparent governance and honest leadership on the other.
Thakre said the BJP was committed to build an integrated and egalitarian society free from discrimination of any form. "We aspire for a forward-looking, forward-moving India. We are committed to a society built on opportunity, optimism and oneness," he said.
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