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Vajpayee admits to indiscipline in BJP

Tara Shankar Sahay in Hamirpur | February 21, 2003 16:00 IST

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Friday acknowledged the presence of indiscipline in the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Addressing an election rally in the picturesque Regional Engineering College ground in Hamirpur with snow-clad peaks in the backdrop, Vajpayee said, "Like in some other parties, indiscipline has also crept in into our party. There is need to stand by it and not fight the impending election (in Himachal Pradesh as a rebel)."

"Care had to be exercised that wrong candidates should not fight election," he cautioned his partymen, adding that not everybody could become MPs or MLAs.

The prime minister also hit out at the Congress for resorting to "cheap tactics", including misuse
of government machinery. He asked the party to conduct itself with "dignity expected in a democracy".

"Congress is resorting to such shameful tactics. Raids were carried out in the factories of Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal's relatives in Punjab. They are misusing government machinery. Is it the way to go about things?" he asked.

Taking strong exception to the circulation of pamphlets in Madhya Pradesh alleging that he eats beef, Vajpayee said they are making baseless allegations, but people have realised the truth.

"While in opposition, we always fought on principles and used to stand with the government shoulder-to-shoulder at times of crises. We never used cheap tactics. Democracy demands
dignified conduct," he said.

A day after advocating the cause of Ram Temple and total ban on cow slaughter, Vajpayee asserted it was not a crime to talk about Hindutva.

Congress, Vajpayee said, had attributed the victory in Gujarat to the BJP playing the Hindutva card. "It is not a crime to talk about Hindutva, though we have not raised it. Hindutva is not a religion but a way of life. But for the sake of votes and vote bank politics, Congress indulged in baseless propaganda resulting in its defeat in Goa and Gujarat and it would be followed by defeat in Himachal Pradesh," he said.

"I feel sad for Congress as they are not able to decide what to do and have lost their way. Let them take rest for sometime, their policies have failed," the prime minister said.

The prime minister underscored that India had earned Rs 6000 crore by agreeing to export wheat to Iran. This was following the recent visit of Iranian President Sayed Mohammad Khatami who, he said, had expressed his willingness to buy Indian wheat.

Vajpayee said that whereas India in the past purchased wheat to meet domestic demand, it was now exporting wheat, which was a good indicator of the health of its economy.

Vajpayee also sought to downplay reports about the alleged differences between him and his deputy, Lal Kishenchand Advani.

"It is being spread that I am fighting with Advani and such a question does not arise because we are working closely together," he claimed.

With inputs from PTI

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