NATIONAL

Hindutva will not be BJP poll plank: Venkaiah

Mumbai Dec. 25. Under attack for his statement that the ``Gujarat experience'' will be replicated elsewhere, the Bharatiya Janata Party president, M. Venkaiah Naidu, today said that Hindutva would not be the party's poll plank in the coming Assembly elections and that his remarks had been ``misconstrued.''

``Gujarat experience means (that) collective work is a key to success,'' Mr. Naidu told a news conference here. Elaborating, he said the campaigning, media management, publicity and logistics were managed in a highly professional manner during the Gujarat elections and by replicating it, the party meant implementing the same strategy elsewhere and not as reported by a section of the media.

The BJP would project its performance and the thrust would be on development and good governance in next year's Assembly elections in some States and the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.

However, if the Opposition took up the Hindutva issue, the BJP would give a "fitting reply."

Ruling out any difference of opinion in the party over the Hindutva issue, in the context of the speech of the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, and the Deputy Prime Minister, L. K. Advani, at the recently-concluded national executive, he said ``it is nothing but media view.''

The Gujarat verdict had given a clear message that "Hindu-bashing" would not be tolerated, he said.

PTI