Criticising the rampant corruption in the Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and the ‘failure' of the Left Front government to bring about development in West Bengal, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Lal Krishna Advani appealed to the people of the State on Thursday to elect an “honest and principled party” in the Assembly elections.

He did not target the Trinamool Congress and its chief Mamata Banerjee.

During his 40-minute-long campaign speech in support of the party's candidate from the Jorasanko Assembly constituency, he highlighted the series of scams unearthed in the UPA government and accused the Prime Minister of trying to shield the scamsters.

“Being actively involved in politics since 1947, I have seen several Prime Ministers and governments. But I feel sad today on seeing Dr. Singh. I had great respect for him as an honest person and an efficient economist before he joined politics but the kind of misery his government has put the country into is unprecedented in history,” Mr. Advani said.

He said the people of the country would never forgive the Congress for the spate of scams under its rule — the cash-for-vote, the Commonwealth Games and the 2G spectrum allocation.

Taking a dig at the Congress' projection of Dr. Singh as an honest person, Mr. Advani said: “Of what use is the honesty of a single person when he is always ready to shield the corruption of his colleagues?...With rising prices of essential commodities and rampant corruption, both of Dr. Singh's touted virtues of being an economist and honest man have fallen through.”

Mr. Advani claimed that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government did not allow rising prices of essential commodities to burden the common man e.

Appealing to the people not to re-elect the Left Front government in the State, Mr. Advani said that “any party that could oust the Left Front government is welcome.”