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Congress innings over, says Advani

December 04, 2003 21:25 IST

Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani on Thursday ruled out early Lok Sabha election.

Commenting on Bharatiya Janata Party's victory in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, he claimed the Congress 'innings is over'.

"I feel very happy with the results. I wish they (Congress) realise that their innings is over," he said.

On the speculation following Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's appeal to MPs to propagate the BJP-led NDA government's achievements as the general election was approaching, Advani said Vajpayee had not spoken about holding Lok Sabha polls before time.

"He (Vajpayee) had only asked the MPs to go to the people as only eight to ten months were left for the general elections," Advani said.    

He said his party had expected it would win 'hands down' in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, but there would be a 'stiff encounter' in Chhattisgarh.

"We did not know what he (Chief Minister Ajit Jogi) is capable of. And Judeo episode only highlighted what he is capable of. But public support benefited us," he said.

"This round of elections has certainly strengthened BJP's position for the coming general elections," he said.

The 'trump card', he added, for the Lok Sabha polls would be governance and development.

"From BJP's point of view, the win was three to one, but from NDA's viewpoint it is four-one, including Mizoram," he said.

On the election results in Chhattisgarh, Advani said while in other states the BJP's campaign was for a change, in Chhattisgarh it was 'not only a desire for change, but there was anger' due to 'the nature of governance and the climate of fear'.

Advani, however, parried questions as to who would lead the BJP in Chhattisgarh, merely saying party chief Venkaiah Naidu will go to Raipur on Friday and the local leaders and newly elected legislators would decide on their leader.

On the defeat of the party in Delhi, he said the party had 'not done as badly as earlier'. "We have won more seats. The results would be analysed by the party," he said.

Replying to questions, Advani said, "Before the Gujarat election we were more concerned with proper and smooth functioning of the government and the (NDA) coalition. During these elections, we were not only facing the Congress, but the entire media, the elite of the country who painted us guilty and Narendra Modi a rakshas (demon)."

Stating that BJP had 'consciously created a second rung leadership, which has stood us in good stead', he said the Congress had 'no other campaigner other than their president (Sonia Gandhi) and the chief ministers'.

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