|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
In last presidential speech, Advani flays Congress
Onkar Singh in Mumbai | December 28, 2005 15:47 IST
Last Updated: December 28, 2005 15:50 IST
Delivering his last speech as the president of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Lal Kishenchand Advani attacked Congress president Sonia Gandhi for making Natwar Singh 'the scapegoat' in the Iraq oil-for-food scam.
"When Indira Gandhi lost elections in 1977 after the Emergency, she did not find scapegoats and blame others for her defeat. But in this case, Natwar Singh has been made one. I would like to ask Sonia Gandhi to lay all the cards on the table and tell the nation what does she know about the scam. As Congress president, she cannot continue to pretend that she did not know her party was a beneficiary of Saddam's oil kickbacks," Advani said.
Addressing over 4000 party delegates, he called the United Progressive Alliance 'strange', saying while Sonia is at the steering wheels, Dr Manmohan Singh presses the accelerator and Communist Party of India (Marxist) applies the breaks.
"This government can fall any time and we should not be found wanting as and when the mid-term polls come. We should be ready, as the people are looking towards us," he said.
Advani, however, admitted that the last 25 weeks have not been comfortable for the party. He made oblique references to recent developments, particularly MPs caught taking money for asking questions in Parliament and also Sanjay Joshi. "Congress culture is creeping in. We should guard against that," he warned.
He thanked the alliance partners of erstwhile Janata party for forcing a showdown in 1979 on the issue of dual citizenship, forcing members of the Jan Sangh quitting the government and forming a new party called BJP.
"No party has such a spectacular history as BJP does. Within 16 years of its existence, Atal Bihari Vajpayee became prime minister of India. Though the government did not last long in 1998, he became prime minister again and led the country for six long years. And we provided good government at the centre," he said.
Advani stressed that cultural nationalism and 'not secularism of the Congress kind' should be treated as the binding force.
Complete coverage: BJP turns 25