Debating India

Atal swipe at Priyanka, Rahul

Nilanjana Bhaduri JHA

Friday 6 February 2004, by JHA*Nilanjana Bhaduri

Article paru dans le Times of India, ?dition en ligne du vendredi 6 f?vrier 2004.

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee knows how to hit hard without letting the injury show. On Friday, he set the tone for Lok Sabha elections 2004 taking on the Gandhi family in his inimitable style.

Addressing over a meeting of his party’s national council at the Ambedkar grounds in New Delhi, Vajpayee underscored the "party with a difference" claim of the BJP and without taking names said: “In our party, workers become leaders and all leaders are workers. (“ Humare yahan neta janam nahi leta balki kaam karke hi kisi manzil tak pahunchta hai ”) Nobody is born a leader. Everyone has to work towards fulfilling targets. That is why the BJP is different from other parties."

So saying, Vajpayee sought to discredit the attempts of the Congress to revive its fortunes with the political debut of the Gandhi Gen Next - Priyanka and Rahul. No names though, even as he harked back to another era.

The Congress, he said, "is afraid to even talk about family planning. It reacts as it would to a scorpion bite. It’s because they used such techniques that the people revolted. They used force...". A reference to the Indira Gandhi regime when the former Prime Minister’s son Sanjay Gandhi led a much-feared sterilisation drive.

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