Yatra not meant for repackaging me: Advani
Amid speculation over Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate, L K Advani on Thursday said that his yatra was not aimed at "repackaging" himself.
"People ask me if this yatra of yours is to repackage Advani. My answer is very clear that it has no link with me or the BJP. It aims to generate self-confidence among the people in this hour of deep dejection," Advani said while flagging off Jan Swabhiman Yatra led by national vice-president Kalraj Mishra in Uttar Pradesh.
Advani spoke after party leader Uma Bharti claimed that he is the "most capable person" to lead the country in the present situation.
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Image: Advani's yatra reached Uttar Pradesh on Thursday
'Advani ji is the most capable person to lead the country'
Welcoming Advani's yatra in Varanasi, Bharti said that in the past Vishwanath Pratap Singh had raised the issue of corruption in Bofors and had gone on to become the prime minister.
"Advani ji is the most capable person to lead the country in the present situation," she said and added that though Advani "would turn 84 in November, he retained the enthusiasm of a twelve-year-old".
Bharti said that she had argued with Advani when at a BJP national executive in Mumbai in 1995, Advani had proposed Atal Bihari Vajpayee's name as the BJP's prime ministerial choice.
Advani, she said, had taken that decision to uphold the wishes of the people.
Image: Uma Bharati addressing crowds during the yatra
'Yatra is an attempt to generate confidence among public'
As his yatra crossed Uttar Pradesh, where assembly polls are due next year, Advani said the state should take lead in rooting out corruption.
"Huge amount of black money is stashed away in foreign banks. The country which has huge potential is unable to become a great nation," he said.
Advani said that it was unfortunate that whatever was being done to address the menace of corruption, is either by the courts, Comptroller and Auditor General or Public Accounts Committee while "the government is doing nothing". "Confidence of the people was shaken when they heard about spectrum case, Mumbai land scam and corruption in Commonwealth Games project," Advani said.
The BJP leader said Uttar Pradesh being a crucial state, it was important that corruption menace is fought effectively. "A good opportunity has come."
"There is deep sense of dejection among people and this yatra is an attempt to generate confidence during this period of depression," Advani said and claimed that corruption was the root cause of inflation.
Image: Advani interacts with the public during the yatra
'This yatra will give positive return'
"If this black money stashed in foreign banks is brought back, of the six lakh villages in the country there will not a be single one without drinking water, road, school and electricity. The country which is being considered poor will become prosperous," he said.
"I have done six yatras, but from the response generated by his yatra it seems that it will give positive return," Advani said.
Praising senior leader Murali Manohar Joshi, he said Joshi "exposed" the prime minister and the then finance minister in the 2G case. "Bhrastachaar mitayenge, naya bharat banayenge aur Kala dhan wapas layenge naya bharat banayenge (We will root out corruption and make a new India and We will bring back the black money and make a new India) are the new slogans," he said.
Image: Thousands of BJP supporters gather to get a glimpse of Advani during the yatra