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Desire to make India global power binds us: Advani

March 20, 2004 12:38 IST

Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani on Saturday said that even if the Bharatiya Janata Party gets a majority on its own in the coming elections it would be committed to the National Democratic Alliance agenda.

Complete coverage of Advani's yatra

"BJP's commitment to the NDA is total and unequivocal. What binds the NDA is a common concern for the development and a desire to make India a global power," Advani told a press conference in Nagpur on the 11th day of his Bharat Uday Yatra.

Before leaving the city, Advani visited Devi Ahilya Mandir here to offer prayer to the deity.

Asked how many seats BJP would win in the coming Lok Sabha election, Advani said, "I have never ever ventured into predicting the numbers. But I can say that we will get much more seats than what we got in 1999."

Though BJP would continue efforts to expand its base and improve its strength, it would be bound by NDA's agenda.

"There will be a NDA government at the Centre, even if BJP secures majority on its own," he said.

Stating that Atal Bihari Vajpayee symbolises 'the great Indian consensus' while the NDA epitomises India's unity in diversity, he said, "Even though we have come together from different traditions we are bound by one leader and one manifesto for the purpose of government."

Advani, whose public meeting last night was marred by slogan shouting by activists of Bajrang Dal demanding the construction of Ram Temple, expressed confidence that a negotiated settlement to the vexed Ayodhya problem will be brought about 'in a few months' after the elections.

"There are three ways to solve the problem -- court verdict or a resolution by the Parliament, or a negotiated settlement between the two communities. The court verdict or a Parliament resolution might lead to agitation by aggrieved party. An enduring solution will have to be only through negotiated settlement."

The efforts initiated by NDA government are proceeding satisfactorily in the last six to eight months, he said.

Dismissing the perception in some quarters that BJP was anti-Muslim, Advani said there was a growing realisation among Muslims that they had been taken for a ride and used as vote-banks by the Congress and other parties for several decades.

"Vote-bank politics pursued by our political adversaries in respect of minorities is yielding shrinking returns," he said.

Stating that NDA partners had come together on two national planks, of leadership of Vajpayee and national agenda for governance, in 1998 and 1999, Advani said, "In this election also, we will fight under Vajpayee's leadership and with a single manifesto."

Pointing out that BJP does not practise political untouchability, he said the NDA had strengthened federalism and national unity by blending a national vision with regional aspirations, and by successfully running a harmonious coalition.

Advani said though BJP was in favour of separate state for Vidarbha region, it was bound by the NDA agenda in which formation of smaller states does not figure now.

"The NDA government will consider them only in the event of a political consensus and respective state assemblies adopting resolutions to that effect.

"We had adopted a similar policy in the case of Uttaranchal, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand," he said.

Advani replied in the negative when asked whether his party would take initiative to build consensus on Vidarbha statehood. "This question does not arise as we are bound by the NDA agenda."

He said the BJP's central leadership did not endorse the proposal of Andhra Pradesh unit favouring Telangana statehood.

On the possibility of Maharashtra assembly passing a resolution in favour of a separate state of Vidarbha, he said, "I don't think it is feasible."

Asked about the reported remark of Vajpayee that it would be better if the foreign-origin issue is not raised during the poll campaign, Advani said, "I have not seen such a report.

This issue (of Sonia Gandhi's foreign origin) is already there, whether one talks about it or not. The Congress had split into two on this issue."

Advani denied reports in a section of the media here that he had held seat-sharing talks with George Fernandes who was in the city yesterday to participate in a public meeting organised as part of Bharat Uday Yatra.

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