NATIONAL

Internal security jeopardised, says Advani

Staff Correspondent

BELLARY: Internal security has been jeopardised under the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government at the Centre, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president, L.K. Advani, said here on Friday.

Mr. Advani said that the threat to internal security was a greater challenge than poverty, illiteracy, and price rise. Cross-border terrorism and naxal activities were on the rise and the Government had failed to contain them.

Mr. Advani and other party leaders, including Sushma Swaraj, Jagadish Shettar, H.N. Ananth Kumar, B.S. Yediyurappa, and D.H. Shankarmurthy, were here to attend a mass marriage organised by the BJP's district unit. The occasion coincided with the BJP's 25th anniversary. Mr. Advani said that peace talks initiated with Pakistan by the BJP-led NDA Government under the leadership of the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had come to a standstill after the change of guard at the Centre.

Mr. Advani said the UPA had failed in administration. "With just six years in office, the NDA could usher in a lot of development and ensure that the country emerged powerful among the comity of nations. Had it been allowed to continue in government for another 20 years, all steps would have been taken to contain cross-border terrorism, naxal and terrorist activities besides taking up developmental activities," he said.

The former Deputy Prime Minister said that he was moved by the felicitation given to him (he was presented a "petha," a silver sword and a shawl).

Ms. Swaraj, MP and senior BJP leader, recalled her association with Bellary ever since she contested in the 1999 elections to the Lok Sabha against Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her regular visits to perform Varamahalakshmi puja here.

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