Debating India


BJP not a one-man party, says Advani

Saturday 28 February 2004

New Delhi, Feb. 28 (PTI) As BJP pushes ’brand Vajpayee’ ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani has said it was not not a "one-man" party and denied any differences between him and the Prime Minister.

"This is a very standard way, not not only in the manner in which you are putting (the question). You see the last five years and in those five years you can get hold of so many news items which keep on projecting a kind of dichotomy between Vajpayeeji and me and ultimately nothing turns out," he told NDTV. He was replying to a question that he was often referred to as the ’iron man’ of BJP and whether he felt sad that it is Vajpayee and nobody else including him that NDA and BJP is banking on. Giving an example how privatisation and liberalisation in the U K had come to be known as ’Thatcherism’ after then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Advani said "similarly whatever has been achieved by the NDA Government has come to be naturally identified with Atal Bihari Vajpayee who within the BJP is no no doubt our tallest leader".

Observing that Vajpayee has been his senior in the party, Advani said there have been many in BJP who have contributed. "I would say that today this is the only party in the country which is not not a one-man party where not not only the Prime Minister but the President of the party, even the officer bearers, even several ministers in the Government who are of a younger lot (are contributing). They have come up in a very effective manner,"he said. "Whenever there is an election campaign our adversaries have to rely on only one campaigner whereas we have a dozen campaigners going round the country," Advani said. On where would one see him after elections and whether he would like the post of Deputy Prime Minister or some other office, Advani said "I am happy with whatever responsibility is given to me by the party".

Referring to Thatcherism, Advani said "that was not not deification of Thatcher or boosting the personality of Thatcher". On his charge that the Congress’ alliance with the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS)amounted to supporting the Naxalites, he said "I believe whosoever directly or indirectly supports Naxalites, he is undermining democracy and I believe that today Naxalites are the biggest protagonists of Telangana. "If they condemn Naxalites it’s fine. But the Congress keeps on maintaining positions which indirectly encourage them. Therefore, it is that I criticised the Congress party (for)..." To a question about basic theme of his campaign, Advani said in the 1998 and 1999 general elections, the people gave Vajpayee and the NDA a mandate to demonstrate what was good governance. "I believe that our track record of the last five years is a concrete proof that here is an alliance which can give good governance to the country and thus contribute both to the security and development of the country," he said.

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Outlook India, PTI, February 28, 2004.

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