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July 10, 1999
Don't politicise Kargil, PM tells BJP
P Dev Kumar in Guwahati
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has advised Bharatiya Janata Party leaders against politicising the Kargil conflict.
Addressing BJP leaders at the Guwahati airport before leaving for Delhi last night, Vajpayee said that the Kargil conflict was not a political issue. ''We do not want to exploit Kargil for deriving political mileage. We can only request other political parties not to play politics with Kargil.
''The Kargil conflict is a question of national security. Jawans and officers drawn from all parts of the country are fighting the Pakistan-backed intruders. That reflects national unity. Their sacrifices should be respected,'' he said.
The prime minister reacted sharply to the Congress criticism that the caretaker government was taking decisions which it should not have taken. ''It is the same people who had dislodged our government without any thought for future governance.''
Asserting that the government's decisions were in conformity with the laws of the land, he challenged the Congress and the Communists to take the help of the courts if they felt the decisions were wrong.
''When the Kargil conflict is on, how can any responsible government sit tight and not take decisions to safeguard the country's security?'' he asked.
A decision on the telecom policy was delayed and could not be delayed further. ''Similarly, there was this question of imports and exports relating to onions. If onions are to be exported, its domestic price will rise and there will be a scarcity as had happened during the last elections. And if we do not permit the farmers to export, they will suffer monetarily. These questions are to be attended to urgently.''
He also criticised the Opposition for approaching President K R Narayanan with complaints at short intervals.
''Whenever we act in the best interest of the nation, the Opposition knocks on the door of Rashtrapati Bhavan. Rashtrapatiji is fully aware of our decisions and actions. He is posted with day-to-day developments in the government,'' he said.
He said it was the responsibility of all political parties to ''respond responsibly. The elections are round the corner and the Kargil conflict is gaining momentum. Under these circumstances self-restraint is needed,'' he said.
He said some parties were trying to mislead the people on the Kargil issue.
''My friendship visit to Lahore has shown to the world that India wants peace. Therefore this world-wide support for our stand on the Line of Control and Kargil. Even known friends of Pakistan have asked her to honour the LoC and go back. By this, Pakistan's stand has weakened internationally,'' he said.
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