Assembly polls will not be a referendum
on my government, says Vajpayee
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has denied that the coming assembly elections in three states and Delhi will be considered a referendum on the performance of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre.
In an interview to the October 26 edition of India Today, Vajpayee said, "I do not think [these] elections will be a referendum on my government's performance... I must emphasise that the voters, by and large, vote for local issues during assembly elections."
He appeared unhappy with the behaviour of some of his coalition partners. "In a coalition, there is always the need to take into account the views of all the partners. But the dharma of coalition politics is that partners raise only legitimate issues and not unreasonable ones. That weakens good governance and creates political instability," he said.
Denying any rift between him and Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani, he said, "The media has been unfair to both of us. Advaniji and I have worked together as a team for over 40 years. Nothing has happened to change that equation and we are perfect team-mates."
Answering questions on a wide range of issues, Vajpayee said India was one of the few countries to have achieved high economic growth with modest inflation and balanced development in the present international context.
He reiterated the need for a 7-8 per cent annual growth for the next few years in order to make a "real and visible dent on poverty and unemployment".
On the possibility of India signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, Vajpayee said, "We still have serious reservations about signing the CTBT in its present form."
He said one of the country's main concerns is the ratification of the CTBT. "Will every signatory to the treaty give an undertaking about ratification by their respective legislatures within a stipulated time?" he asked.
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