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Jethmalani withdraws from Lucknow

April 16, 2004 15:20 IST
Last Updated: April 16, 2004 15:43 IST

Independent candidate Ram Jethmalani on Friday withdrew from the contest against Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the Lucknow parliamentary constituency, but said he would campaign for Congress nominee Akhilesh Das.

On Wednesday, Vajpayee in an appeal to Jethmalani had cited 40 years of friendship between them and asked him to reconsider his decision to contest against him in Lucknow. In his statement, the PM also referred to Jethmalani's commitment to political and social causes, including Jammu and Kashmir and Indo-Pak relations, and said that his advice in these matters would be valued.

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Jethmalani, who is away in London for treatment of his son, said in a statement, "Due to a sudden family problem, I had to leave the scene of battle...

"Fortunately the situation is not as serious as it initially appeared and I hope to resume the battle in a few days.

"My withdrawal and the nomination of my friend Akhilesh Das, the Congress candidate, became inevitable due to the uncertainty that prevailed on the last day of nominations."

The lawyer said he would now campaign against policies and actions that "endanger the unity and progress of India and pose a threat to the welfare and security of minorities.

"I will lend full support to Akhilesh Das and other candidates who share my ideology in any part of India.

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