OTHERS

Judge BJP by its performance: PM

NEW DELHI, SEPT. 2. The Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, has said that his Government should not be judged ``through the prism of any other organisation''. ``The RSS and its front units have an identity of their own which is entirely separate from that of the Bharatiya Janata Party,'' he said.

In an interview to India today , Mr. Vajpayee described the BJP as a ``political party involved in political activities on the basis of a political agenda'', adding ``we should be judged by how well we perform in office. We should not been seen or judged through the prism of any other organisation.''

On the BJP president, Mr. Bangaru Lakshman's call to reach out to Muslims, he said the call was meant to increase the party's social base in the country and did not mean the party had reached a saturation point in its support base among other communities.

``Every party has a core support base. But that by itself is not enough. In a pluralistic society like ours, a political party has to constantly strive to expand its social base. As for Mr. Bangaru Lakshman's call to reach out to Muslims, it does not mean the party has reached a saturation point in its support base among other communities,'' Mr. Vajpayee said.

To a question on his health, the Prime Minister said that apart from arthritis of the knee, not uncommon at his age, he had no other problem. There was very little he could do to prevent media speculation about his health.

Expressing satisfaction over the proceedings at the BJP's Nagpur session, Mr. Vajpayee said it was a smooth transition with Mr. Lakshman taking charge of organisational affairs. The political resolution and the economic resolution that were discussed and adopted reflected the upbeat mood in the party.

Admitting ``perceptional differences'' between the party and the Government, the Prime Minister, however, said ``these never stood in the way of the party and the Government playing complementary roles.'' ``In any event, perceptional differences are by no means a negative factor in relations between the party and the Government. On the contrary, had there been unthinking endorsement of everything that the Government does, it would suggest that the organisation has ceased to exist as an entity and become moribund.''

About his much-hyped U.S. visit, he said a single visit would not lead to a dramatic breakthrough or turnaround but bilateral relations had been improving since the U.S. President, Mr. Bill Clinton's visit to India in March.

- PTI

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