UPA poses threat to country’s ‘vital’ interests: Advani (Roundup)February 8th, 2009 - 7:39 pm ICT by IANS
Nagpur, Feb 8 (IANS) The continuation of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government posed a “threat to the vital interests of the country”, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s senior leader L.K. Advani said Sunday and demanded a high-level judicial inquiry in the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack.
“The government’s soft and compromising approach to cross-border terrorism, further weakened by the virus of votebank considerations, has endangered India’s internal security like never before,” Advani said, addressing the party’s national council meeting here.
The party’s national executive Friday preceded the two-day national council meeting, which concluded Sunday, with the party leaders expressing the hope that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance would come to power because of the Congress’ failure on internal security and “all fronts”.
The meeting, coming weeks ahead of the Lok Sabha elections slated in April-May, unanimously passed a resolution to this effect.
Advani said the five years of UPA’s rule witnessed the “highest number of terrorist incidents and casualties since the onset of terrorism in India in the early 1980s”.
“Secure in the knowledge that the government in New Delhi has neither the political will nor the clarity of policy to fight terrorism, the enemies of India have felt so emboldened that they mounted one barbaric attack after another,” he asserted.
The “most audacious assault till date” was the Nov 26 strike in Mumbai and the revelations later showed that it was not a case of intelligence failure but more of a government failure.
“The Congress-led governments at the centre and in Maharashtra were sleeping in spite of having full information that the terrorists could use the sea route,” he said.
Advani demanded a “high-level judicial inquiry” to unearth what went wrong and also recommend ways of preventing such attacks.
He heaped praises on the party’s chief ministers Narendra Modi (Gujarat), Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh) and Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh) for their performance. He credited Chouhan and Singh with the party’s victory in the November-December assembly elections in their states.
Referring to Modi, Advani said the party was “proud of his popularity”.
“A journalist once asked me if Narendra Modi was becoming larger than the party. I replied that if a family member is becoming more popular than the head of the family, then it is a proud moment for the entire family,” he said.
“The same was once said about (former prime minister Atal Bihari) Vajpayee,” Advani added.
“People called Narendra Modi a merchant of death and challenged him to win the (assembly) elections in Gujarat (in 2007). But he won,” Advani said. He was referring to Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s description of Modi as “maut ke saudagar” - for his government’s alleged inaction during the 2002 communal violence that saw 1,169 people slaughtered.
He said it was wrong to believe that his party had “returned to Ram” because it had never abandoned the god.
“Be it Ram Setu or Ram temple (in Ayodhya), we have never abandoned Ram,” Advani said.
And he said, to loud applause, that the true victory of Ram would be when a “magnificent temple” is constructed in Ayodhya - reiterating party chief Rajnath Singh’s comments Saturday.
Radical Hindu mobs brought down the 16th century Babri mosque in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh in December 1992 claiming it was built at the site of Lord Ram’s birthplace.
In a reference to the Congress, he said the BJP was “not run by dynasty”.
“Sadly in our politics there are various types of parties. One is a family dynasty,” He added, however: “I am not referring only to the Congress.”
Advani urged party leaders and cadres to show exemplary conduct to prove that “our claim to a party with a difference” was justified.