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Advani sings paeans for Modi
K G Suresh in Surat | April 09, 2006 18:53 IST
Overwhelmed by the crowds Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi organised for him during the course of his Bharat Suraksha Yatra in its Gujarat leg, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani on Sunday sang paeans for him and said he had made the state a role model for others to emulate in governance and development.
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"Can think of no other example in Indian politics of a leader who, after being subjected to a malicious and prolonged campaign of vilification, has been able to impress even his critics with his determination, single-minded focus, integrity and a wide array of achievements in a relatively short time," he told a press conference in Surat on the last day of his journey in the state.
In an apparent attempt not to offend anti-Modi dissidents in the party's state unit, the leader of opposition also acknowledged former chief minister and Modi's arch-rival Keshubhai Patel's contributions to Gujarat's development.
What is remarkable is that the Gujarat Government's achievements, first under Keshubhai Patel and now under Modi, have not only impressed captains of industry but also touched the lives of tribals, farmers, women, self-employed youth and the middle class, he said.
Advani's yatra had received a fairly good response despite the scorching sun, prompting his critics to state that people had come to listen to Modi, who continues to be the party's main crowd-puller in the state. Modi has also emerged as a close confidant of the veteran leader, particularly in the wake of the Jinnah controversy when the chief minister stood solidly behind him.
Quoting a statement of the Confederation of Indian Industry about the states economy surpassing the growth rate of 16 per cent in the coming years, the former deputy prime minister said, "It fills me with pride and immense satisfaction to know that my party's government in Gujarat has been able to establish a model of good governance and development under the dynamic leadership of Modi."
Asked about the posters of party leader Sanjay Joshi put up across the state, he maintained there was no parallel campaign against him.
On the defamation notice served on him by Abhishek Verma for making allegations pertaining to the Scorpene submarine deal, Advani declined to comment but claimed there was a letter, which proved that there was a middle-man in the contract and that he was given a percentage.
Asked about Verma's charge that he was harassed during the National Democratic Alliance regime, he said these are not allegations. There are cases where he has been found guilty and prosecuted.
To a question about the move to provide reservation for Other Backward Classes in institutions of higher learning, he said the party will give its considered view when the proposals were given.
Advani was also critical of the Centre for not clearing the anti-terrorism law passed by the state assembly. He said there should be a specific time frame wherein the legislations coming under the concurrent list should be passed failing which these should be implemented automatically.