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A historic day for Indian democracy: Advani
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December 23, 2007 13:51 IST
Last Updated: December 23, 2007 15:31 IST

Hailing the BJP's spectacular victory in Gujarat, its senior leader L K Advani on Sunday  said the vote against "vilification" campaign by the Congress was a "turning point" for national politics, signalling the party's "comeback" ahead of  the next general elections.

Advani equated the Gujarat polls to 1971 general election "in which entire opposition came together on an anti-Indira Gandhi platform" and said "today is a historic day for Indian democracy".

Issuing a statement soon after the Narendra Modi-led party emerged victorious, he said by winning the renewed mandate in Gujarat, "my party has conclusively shown" that the people of the state voted for "good governance, development and a leadership that delivers".

"The state Assembly elections are quite frequent in our country but rarely does the people's verdict in a particular state become a 'turning point' for national politics," Advani said.

"The BJP's spectacular victory in Gujarat today is indeed a turning point because it signals the BJP's comeback as the frontrunner in the next Parliamentary elections," said the party's prime ministerial candidate.

Advani said he was confident that BJP's victory in Gujarat and "our certain victory" in Himachal Pradesh elections "will indeed prove that the BJP is bouncing back".

Thanking people of Gujarat for "reposing their faith, yet again, in the BJP", he congratulated the state's "dynamic and highly popular chief minister Narendra Modi [Images] for "scoring a resounding victory".

He said in 2002, "our critics" had attributed BJP's win in Gujarat to Godhra-related incidents, which was "not true".

To press his argument, Advani noted that there was "not a single communal riot" or act of terrorism in Gujarat during the last five years and "people belonging to all castes and religions" there have been the "beneficiaries" of Modi's "single-minded focus on good governance, development, security and fight against corruption".

Attacking the Congress, he said the party's campaign in the election "was characterised by unprecedented vilification of the BJP" and in particular, "it was a negative and personalised campaign against Modi".

"In this sense, the 2007 Gujarat election reminds me of the 1971 general election in which the entire opposition came together on an anti-Indira Gandhi platform (without, of course, the vilification element)," Advani said.

He recalled that Indira Gandhi [Images] had made "skillful use of this negative campaign to her own advantage by saying -- the opposition says, Indira hatao, I say garibi hatao".

"This time the Congress and all other self-styled secular parties were saying -- Modi hatao," Advani said.

He said, however, that there was a "crucial difference" between 1971 and 2007 as Indira Gandhi "did very little to implement" her slogan while Modi "has won not on the basis of promises made but on the basis of promises fulfilled".

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