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September 12, 2000
PM plays down Ayodhya, swayamsevak remarks
Amberish K Diwanji in New York
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has sought to clarify some of his remarks at Saturday's reception at Staten Island. He has sought to clarify the words pratham sevak and swayamsevak.
In a statement issued on Tuesday by the prime minister to the media delegation accompanying him on his visit to the United States, Vajpayee said a misunderstanding has been created over 'my use of the term swayamsevak.'
He said, 'I had said at the function that I had come to Staten Island as India's "pratham sevak." I have always considered myself a swayamsevak of India and her people, and I shall remain so even after I cease to be prime minister of India.'
The prime minister's statement further declared that there has been an unwarranted interpretation of his speech linked to the Ayodhya issue. What he had said, he clarified, was 'What we have achieved even without having a majority in Parliament is known to everybody. If we get a two-thirds majority, we shall build a Sab ke sapnon ka Bharat (India of everyone's dreams).
The prime minister added: 'The Ayodhya issue is not on the common agenda of the government of the National Democratic Alliance. There is no question of any change in this position.'
Vajpayee expressed surprise at the inaccurate reportage by a section of the media of his speech at the function arranged by 'several organisations of the Indian-American community' at Staten Island in New York.
His statement said 'the wrong reporting and speculative interpretation of some of my remarks at the event have, in turn, provoked a needless controversy in India.'
rediff.com has assigned Associate Editors Amberish K Diwanji and Savera R Someshwar to cover Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visit to the United States. Don't forget to log into rediff.com for news of this historic visit as it happens!
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