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Nitish shares stage with Modi in Ludhiana; TRS joins NDA

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New partners: In a show of unity, leaders of the NDA came together at a rally in Ludhiana on Sunday organised by SAD chief and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. —
New partners: In a show of unity, leaders of the NDA came together at a rally in Ludhiana on Sunday organised by SAD chief and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. —

Sarabjit Pandher

Advani: UPA is disintegrating and NDA is growing in strength

CHANDIGARH: The National Democratic Alliance (NDA), at a rally in Ludhiana on Sunday, sought to project itself as a united front that now includes the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS).

TRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao, who was with the Left-led Third Front, appeared on the platform and declared his support for this alliance.

The rally, organised by the NDA’s founding constituent Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), was attended by a galaxy of leaders. They included the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani, BJP chief Rajnath Singh, JD(U) president Sharad Yadav, JD(U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, SAD chief and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh, Asom Gana Parishad president Chandra Mohan Patowary, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) supremo Om Prakash Chautala and Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi.

Chief Ministers of all BJP-ruled States — Narendra Modi of Gujarat, B.S. Yeddyurappa (Karnataka), Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh), Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh), Prem Kumar Dhumal (Himachal Pradesh), and B.C. Khanduri (Uttarakhand) — participated in the rally.

It witnessed a warm handclasp by Mr. Modi and Mr. Kumar. The latter once said he would not like to share the dais with Mr. Modi.

Mr. Advani said the “historic” event, which would be referred to as “Ludhiana rally” in the evolution of coalition politics, had established that while the UPA was disintegrating, the NDA was growing in strength, with five parties joining it recently.

Mr. Advani claimed that it was a victory for the people when the Congress, pressured by the NDA, promised to bring back “black money” hoarded in Swiss banks. Mr. Modi took on Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi for his statement on Afzal Guru, who has been convicted for the attack on Parliament. He said the Congress had now formed a queue of convicts to be given capital punishment.

He said the then Congress government rejected in 20 minutes the mercy petition and hang within 24 hours two Khalistani militants, convicted for assassinating the former Army Chief, Gen. A.S. Vaidya, because it involved those who did not constitute a vote bank.

Mr. Kumar narrated how the UPA government had sent a facsimile communication to his government, seeking the return of Rs. 1,010 crore which the Prime Minister announced after the floods in the Kosi inundated major parts of the State.

The TRS chief said his party was stabbed in the back after it gave the necessary oxygen to the Congress before the last parliamentary polls.

Mr. Chautala warned the people that democracy would perish if they did not vote the NDA to power as the UPA was blindly following the agenda of large capital formation.

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