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Raje begins poll campaign from Lok Sabha

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | August 19, 2003 19:47 IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party's Rajasthan unit president, Vasundhara Raje, on Tuesday used the Lok Sabha to virtually launch her party's campaign for the assembly polls in Rajasthan this year.

Participating in the debate on the no-confidence motion against the government, she compared Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot with Dhritarashtra, the blind father of Duryodhana, the villain of the epic Mahabharata.

Complete Coverage of the No-Confidence Motion

Scindia said Gehlot was oblivious to the starvation deaths in the state.

The food grains meant for distribution among the poor were sold in black market and as a result of this 45 people had died of hunger in the state, she said.

"Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, recently one person died in the state of thirst," she claimed.

She charged Congress president Sonia Gandhi of remaining silent for almost five days when the Indian Army was battling Pakistani soldiers and irregulars in Kargil in July 1999.

"When Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was visiting Kargil on the 13th day of the Kargil War, there was an explosion, but the opposition leader did not say anything. Instead of rapping Pakistan she rapped the government for allowing Pakistani intruders into India," she said.

She accused Gandhi and the Congress of trying to embarrass the government at a time when the party should have stood behind the Vajpayee.

She lauded Vajpayee for organising the last rites of the jawans and officers killed in the Kargil conflict with full military honours.

"This is the first time that the bodies of the martyrs were taken to their homes and their last rites were performed by their relatives," she claimed.

Samajwadi Party chief and former defence minister Mulayam Singh Yadav took exception to her claims and said Vajpayee should clarify the matter. "We had, in our time, organised the last rites of martyrs in their villages," Yadav said.

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