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BJP has mind of its own: Venkaiah Naidu

Tara Shankar Sahay in Kapas Hera (Haryana) | April 20, 2003 03:38 IST

In what could be construed as a clear rebuff to the Sangh Parivar, Bharatiya Janata Party chief M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday made it clear that 'outsiders' could not decide the party's agenda.

Addressing party workers on the concluding day of a four-day workshop of organising secretaries, he said that while the BJP would live in amity and goodwill with other members of the Sangh Parivar, there should be no doubt that it was an independent political organisation determining its own agenda.

He conceded that many BJP workers had taken inspiration from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on patriotism and hard work, but insisted the party had a mind of its own.

He said efforts were on for peaceful resolution of the Ayodhya issue and that the BJP 'will abide by the verdict of the court'.

Even as he welcomed Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's development package for Jammu and Kashmir, he expressed reservations about Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed 'healing touch' policy.

"We should be clear that the healing touch is only for those willing to return to the national mainstream, not for terrorists," he said but expressed doubts whether Pakistan was ready to stop cross-border terrorism to improve ties with India.

He criticised the Congress for boycotting the prime minister's rally in Srinagar.

"The Congress is a partner of the ruling alliance in J&K and it will have to explain to the people why its leaders were not present at the PM's Srinagar rally," he said.

After abandoning its ideology, the Congress had become rudderless and is now nothing more than a 'limited company for one family', he said.

Naidu said there should be a comparative study of the 45-year-plus rule of the Congress in the country and the five years of the BJP-led NDA government.

He denied the BJP was contemplating mid-term polls.

"The prime minister has made it clear that we would like to complete our five-year term," the BJP said.

Reiterating the target of 300 seats for the BJP in the next election to the Lok Sabha, he exhorted the cadre to prepare for the same by giving a determined fight in the assembly elections due in four states in November.

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