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Exit of a few parties does not matter: BJP

Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi | January 07, 2004 03:17 IST

Bharatiya Janata Party president M Venkaiah Naidu today said the BJP's national executive meeting at Hyderabad on January 11 and 12 would decide its strategy for the general election due later this year.

"We are going ahead with the blueprint for [winning] 300 Lok Sabha seats," Naidu told reporters at his Aurangzeb Road residence. The party will also discuss "preponing" the election and tell its workers to start preparing right away.

But he clarified that there was no question of the BJP ditching its allies in the National Democratic Alliance if it wins 300 Lok Sabha seats on its own.

Asserting that the multi-party NDA government continues to thrive under the leadership of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Naidu said, "It doesn't matter if two or three parties leave for their own reasons." He was referring to the exit of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Marumalarchi DMK.

"It is not easy to run a multi-party coalition government," he said, and claimed that the NDA was a "shining example" of good governance.

Naidu clarified that the Indian National Lok Dal remains very much a part of the NDA despite contesting the Rajasthan election last November on its own.

Asked whether the parliamentary elections would be a 'Vajpayee versus Sonia Gandhi' battle, Naidu said, "Vajpayee is a certainty [as the NDA's prime ministerial candidate]. The other side [the opposition] is uncertain."

He launched a broadside against the Congress president: "The leader of the opposition [in the Lok Sabha] moved a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Vajpayee. She also ridiculed the government's economic achievements by contending that its aim of 8 per cent growth was Mungeri Lal's dream. But that dream of the prime minister has come true."

He claimed that the government's policies had resulted in a decrease in cross-border terrorism in both the Northeast and Jammu & Kashmir. "We are improving relations with Pakistan, but at the same time we are committed to wiping out terrorism," he asserted.

Naidu said the prime minister had never promised to provide white-collar jobs. "The government is pumping money in the infrastructure sector to provide jobs and also in the manufacturing sector," he said.

Referring to the 1999 parliamentary elections, Naidu said the BJP had promised a leadership that was tried, tested and trusted. "I would humbly like to submit that we have delivered what we had promised," he said.

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