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Vajpayee will lead BJP for polls: Advani
January 10, 2004 15:28 IST
Last Updated: January 10, 2004 16:11 IST
Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani on Saturday declared that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee would lead the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Lok Sabha election.
"When we go to the polls this year, people will give a five-year mandate to Vajpayeeji. I have no doubt about it," Advani told the second Pravasi Bharati conference in New Delhi.
Advani's comments come close on the heels of Vajpayee's remarks that he was 'fit and ready' for elections, but nothing had been decided about who would lead the party in the polls.
Advani said India had seen seven prime ministers during the 10-year period ending 1998, but since then Vajpayee alone has led the country. He complimented him for his vision and ability to provide leadership that enabled India to progress on the path to become an economic superpower.
"This is not a small achievement... I have no doubt that if the 20th century belonged to the West, the 21st century will be India's century," he said, adding the short term goal towards this was to become a developed country by 2020.
He said contrary to lack of confidence among people a few years ago, today the masses had faith in the country's capability of becoming a major economic force emanating from the ever-increasing prestige of India in the world community.
Observing that the world was looking at India with admiration, Advani said he did not subscribe to the views that the country was facing rampant corruption and businessmen were associated with black money. "This kind of cynicism and skepticism must be erased," Advani said.
The deputy prime minister, whose address was interspersed with interesting anecdotes, received a standing ovation from Non-Resident Indians and People of Indian Origin after his speech.
More reports from Delhi
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