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PM wants mandate for temple

February 08, 2004 03:06 IST

Kicking off Bharatiya Janata Party's election campaign in Faizabad, near Ayodhya, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Saturday said a fresh mandate to the party would help in taking up several unfinished tasks including construction of the Ram Temple through 'mutual understanding'.

"Adhure kamon ko pura karne ke liye, naye kamon ko shuru karne ke liye hame paanch saal aur dijiye (give us five more years to complete unfinished tasks and take up new projects)", Vajpayee said addressing a public meeting at Faizabad. 

"Abhi Ram Mandir ke nirman ka karya bhi adhura hai (the task of constructing the Ram temple also remains unfulfilled)," he said. 

Vajpayee added that the obstacles in the way of temple construction should be done away with. He said there were only two ways to resolve the vexed issue -- through the court and through discussion, reasoning and cooperation.

"The process of the courts may take time", he said, adding that it would be better to resolve the issue through mutual understanding. 

"We do not want to derive political mileage out of the issue and want to resolve the matter but we need time for this," Vajpayee said, appealing to all political parties to sit together and try to find ways to resolve the issue. 

Vajpayee cited several other ongoing projects like linking of the rivers, laying of rail tracks and the vain attempt  to get the Women's Reservation Bill passed in the Parliament because of lack of majority and urged the people to send his party back to power for the next five years.

"The election bugle has been sounded and we are here to  request you (people) to give us another opportunity to serve you," Vajpayee said. 

Listing his government's achievements, he said, "We have established political stability and a strong Centre,  successfully faced natural calamities, won the Kargil war and governed the country unitedly."

Attacking the Congress, Vajpayee said the main opposition party failed to 'fulfil the need of the time'.

Commenting on Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's reported remarks comparing his government's claim of achieving eight per cent growth rate with 'Mungeri Lal ke hasin sapne', he said, "I told her that we do dream but we also know how to fulfil those dreams."

Stating that he was running a coalition government as he did not have majority, he said now even the Congress was talking of coalition. 

"They (Congress) are joining hands with those with whom  they used to fight," Vajpayee said. The prime minister said he pitied the main opposition party's condition.

Referring to Sonia Gandhi's remarks that he was not 'Atal' (firm), he said she should also remember that he was also a 'Bihari' (wanderer).

"We too have been in the opposition for 50 years and opposed the government of Indira Gandhi but at the time of 1971 war we supported her though we had criticised her for signing the Shimla agreement without first resolving the Kashmir issue," he said.

Vajpayee said he wanted to make India a developed country by 2020. "Now people from abroad are coming to India for  treatment. Earlier, we depended on foreign countries but now their economies are dependent upon us. But we do not want to take undue advantage of this situation," he said.

Referring to his peace initiatives with Pakistan,  Vajpayee said he convinced the Pakistani leadership that there was no use wasting money and resources in fighting wars and instead this money should be spent for the welfare of the people of the two countries.

"I told them (Pakistan) that we have fought three wars  and that they have been at the receiving end every time. They lost Bangladesh, we were able to take back Kargil and also safeguard our borders", he said.

Vajpayee, however, said his government did not neglect the country's defence and had made consistent efforts to modernise the armed forces. Talks were going on with China also to resolve the pending issues.

On Kashmir, Vajpayee said the state was comparatively peaceful barring some sporadic incident of violence. During his tenure, the government, he said, addressed itself to some basic issues facing the nation such as finding ways to control the menace of floods, drought, make available potable water, removing unemployment problem and raising the standard of people living below the poverty line.

"The Lok Sabha has been dissolved. If we had wanted, we could have remained (in power) for some more time. Time has come for the valuation of what the government did during these years," he said.

In his address, former chief minister Kalyan Singh, who recently returned to the BJP fold, asked people to take a resolve for the construction of the 'Rashtra temple and the Ram temple'. 

Describing the opponents of the temple as "communal", he said both Hindus and Muslims should accept that "Ram was their ancestor".

 The meeting was attended among others by senior state party leaders Vinay Katiyar, Lalji Tandon, Kalraj Mishra and

local MLA Laloo Singh. 

'Rajiv lied': In Chandigarh, BJP spokesman Parkash Javadekar today said former prime mMinister Rajiv Gandhi had lied to the nation over the kickbacks in the Bofors gun deal.

Though the Delhi High Court had given a clean chit to the late Prime Minister, "It, however, does not absolve him from the fact that he lied to the nation that there were no kickbacks (in the gun deal)."

Hinting that the 'Bofors scam' that had lingered on for  the past 17 years would not die down following the Court verdict, he said, "The point is that he (Rajiv) lied to the nation.

Asked if it would be made a poll issue by the BJP, he said: "Yes, we will raise it before the people." 

He said after the court verdict, even (Congress chief and Rajiv Gandhi's widow) Sonia Gandhi in her reaction had said there were possibilities of people taking advantage of their closeness, when she was asked whether power  brokers close to Rajiv had misused their proximity.

The BJP also lashed out at the Congress in the "petro bribe case".

"The Congress has been named by Iraqi authority as a recepient of one million barrels of oil. It's a serious charge and they (Congress) are evading an answer, which proved the party's guilt," Javadekar claimed.

"They must come clean over the issue. We want to know who received the oil and in whose name, to whom it was sold, how  much money did they (Congress) receive and where did the money go. They (Cong) owe an answer to the nation," he said. 

But in New Delhi Sonia Gandhi claimed that  the BJP's criticism of Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi showed the ruling party was rattled by them ahead of polls.

Dismissing as "ridiculous" the issue of dynasty raised by BJP to hit out at the Nehru-Gandhi family, she said it has become a "joke" as BJP itself had aligned with several parties which were "not different" and cited examples including that of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu who is son-in-law of the late N T Rama Rao.

Wondering why Congress was being targeted when others also practised family politics, she said, "Whole India is full of dynasties." Right from Sheikh Abdullah to his grandson Omar Abdullah in Jammu and Kashmir, the Chautala family in Haryana, the Patnaik family in Orissa, Mulayam Singh Yadav family in Uttar Pradesh, Laloo Prasad Yadav family in Bihar and the Karunanidhi family in Tamil Nadu and so many others were in politics, she said.

Her comments came a day after Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee made a veiled attack on dynasty politics in Congress saying in BJP leaders were not born but climbed up the heirarchy through hard work.

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