Why is Sonia silent on black money issue, he asks

Even while praising his “political disciple” and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for providing Surajya (good governance), veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani, for the first time, gave credit to the “people of the State” for the “all-round development” the State had achieved.

“The government has to contribute to the development of the State, but what matters most is the attitude of the people. The attitude of the people of Gujarat is different from that of the people in most other States and that is what has contributed in its development,” Mr. Advani said on Sunday.

His Chetna yatra” against corruption and black money entered Gujarat on Sunday amid rousing reception by Mr. Modi and thousands of party workers at the Daman check-post. As Mr Advani's cavalcade, accompanied by BJP national secretaries Ananth Kumar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Murlidhar Rao and Shyam Jajoo, entered Gujarat from the Union Territory of Daman, Mr. Modi and State BJP president R.C. Faldu received the veteran leader on the border. Later they accompanied the yatra through the south Gujarat region on the first day of the two-day State tour through the State.

Addressing meetings at Vapi, Valsad, Navsari and Surat, where the yatra halted for the night, Mr Advani recalled what he had told Nitish Kumar, Railway Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in which he was the Deputy Prime Minister. “I always told Mr. Nitish Kumar that if you undertake a survey, you will certainly find ticketless travel in trains is the least in Gujarat. This showed the attitude of the people of Gujarat, and this is what has contributed to the State's all-round progress,” Mr. Advani said.

Mr. Modi, who began the Vapi meeting by recalling how the people of Gujarat began fight against corruption in the early 1970s when most other parts of the country had not given any thought to the problem, later spoke on black money and engaged the audience in “live conversation.” He asked them whether the estimated Rs. 25 lakh crore allegedly stashed away in foreign banks should be brought back to India or not. As the audience repeatedly replied in the positive, Mr. Modi said the corruption, black money and the Congress had almost become synonyms and the only way to “remove corruption from its roots” was to “throw out the Congress” through the ballot.

Recalling Gujarat's contributions to fighting corrupt practices, the Chief Minister said an indefinite fast by a Jan Sangh worker, Chimnabhai Shukla, against the Congress “bribing” a Sangh corporator to topple the Rajkot Municipal Corporation Council, had sown the seeds of Gujarat's fight against corruption which later developed into the Navnirman agitation in 1974 to overthrow the then “corrupt” Congress regime in the State. It became the source of inspiration for Sarvodaya leader Jayaprakash Narayan to launch a nation-wide movement against corruption in high offices.

“Big shock”

Pointing out the arrest of two of the BJP's “whistle-blowers” who had exposed the UPA government's corrupt practices to bribe 19 MPs to save the Manmohan Singh government in the wake of the CPI(M)'s withdrawal of support, Mr. Advani said it had come as a great shock to him and exposed the “shamelessness” of the government to publicly engage in corrupt practices for political gains.

The BJP veteran said if the Rs. 25 lakh crore in black money was brought back to the country, it could change the face of rural India.

Both Mr. Advani and Mr. Modi alleged that the “owners” of the black money were mostly the Congress leaders for which the government was mum on the issue.

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