BJP starts UPA fall count-down in Jind

March 16th, 2008 - 10:14 pm ICT by admin  

By Faraz Ahmad
Jind (Haryana), March 16 (IANS) Trying to enlarge its base in Haryana in the run up to the general elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sunday held a massive farmers rally here, the party’s first solo show in the state. It promised to bring down farm loan interests and offered farmers an insurance policy, with the government footing the major share. In an obvious bid to woo farmers in the wake of the Congress’ massive farm loan waiver announced in the union budget, BJP president Rajnath Singh said the BJP would, if voted to power, bring down the interest rate on farm loans to four percent and also give an insurance policy for farmers, which would improve their income. “The government will pay 75 percent of its premium,” he told a huge turn-out of farmers.

L.K. Advani, the BJP’s prime minister-in-waiting, did his bit Sunday afternoon, saying that an impending doom awaited the Congress at the hustings.

“Every day of the next 14 months that this government rules, it would get worse for it due to its inability to control inflation and corruption,” Advani told the gathering at the ‘Vijay Sankalp’ (victory resolve) rally.

The main opposition party managed to pull off several ‘firsts’ at Sunday’s rally. This was its first public rally in Haryana in the run-up to next year’s general elections. Also by all accounts it was one of the most impressive rallies organized in the state in recent times.

It was also the BJP’s first solo rally, without its dominant regional partners former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala’s Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the Haryana Vikas Party (HVP).

Earlier, the BJP has jointly governed Haryana with the HVP as its junior partner.

“This was a solo show of the BJP,” said party secretary Vijay Goel. “It was our attempt to demonstrate the popular support of the BJP in Haryana,” he said. He indicated the BJP’s strategy to strike out on its own at the next general polls.

The road leading to the rally was choked with cars, jeeps, buses and trucks. Several participants continued to pour into the rally grounds several hours after Advani and Rajnath Singh had spoken and left.

Accompanied by Rajnath Singh, Advani was duly impressed by the turnout at the rally held at the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) grounds, and remarked: “The impressive turnout here is a clear proof that the people have lost faith in this government.”

Curiously election campaign convenor Sushma Swaraj, hailing from Haryana who was slated to accompany Advani, was conspicuous by her absence and the BJP leaders gave no reason for this.

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