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PM plays Hindutva card
in Himachal Pradesh
Tara Shankar Sahay in Mandi | February 20, 2003 20:36 IST
With a view on attracting the votes of the majority community, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Thursday asserted that his government is considering imposition of a total ban on cow slaughter in the country.
Addressing an election rally of about 8,000 people in the Paddal Ground, he referred to posters in Madhya Pradesh which said Gai hamari mata hai, Atal Bihari khata hai (Cow is like our mother, Atal Bihari Vajpayee eats beef).
Lamenting the 'level to which the Congress had stooped', Vajpayee said, "I would rather die than eat beef."
He said he had written to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi about her party's 'slanderous campaign' against him but had not received any reply.
Sticking to the Hindutva theme, he asked the Congress to spell out its stand on temple construction in Ayodhya.
He said his Bharatiya Janata Party was in favour of temple construction, but would await the court's verdict on the issue. Amid applause, he stressed that there is ample proof of the (Ram) temple existing earlier and hence, the party was confident about its stand.
Vajpayee said the Congress was directionless and the drift was there for all to see. "Our concept of a great, happy and secure India cannot be fulfilled by the Congress," the prime minister said.
Vajpayee exhorted the people to vote for the BJP referring to the 'progress' Himachal Pradesh had made under Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, whether it was regarding road-building, the state's immense tourism potential or other developmental activities.
In his 45-minute speech, the prime minister also reiterated his government's stand on Jammu and Kashmir and on terrorism.
More reports from Himachal Pradesh