NATIONAL

Vajpayee only alternative: Advani

A BJP worker seeks the blessings of the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, at an election rally at Nagaon, Assam, on Saturday. — Photo: Ritu-Raj_Konwar

A BJP worker seeks the blessings of the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, at an election rally at Nagaon, Assam, on Saturday. — Photo: Ritu-Raj_Konwar  

DIBRUGARH, APRIL 24. The Congress has no leader who can run the country and the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, is the only alternative before the nation, the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, said today.

"Vajpayee is the only alternative and he will be the next Prime Minister," Mr. Advani said, addressing an election rally here to canvass for the BJP candidate for Dibrugarh Lok Sabha seat, Kamakhya Tasha.

The Congress had no leader now to run the nation. The political scenario in the country changed after the assassination of Indira Gandhi and after the killing of Rajiv Gandhi, the scenario changed in favour of the BJP, he said.

He asserted that a `New India' would be created by the National Democratic Alliance and the country would be a superpower by 2020.

Mr. Advani reiterated the BJP's commitment to create a new and flourishing India and said the Congress was responsible for the country remaining backward despite ruling it for about 50 years. "India is still branded as a backward country because of decades-long Congress misrule. We are committed to upgrade it to a developed nation by 2020 or may be even 2015." No village would be without a metallic road by 2010 if the BJP was voted to power, he added.

"We consider the last six years in power at the Centre as a take-off period for the nation [which is] ready to be put on the fast track of development. The people will punish the Congress for its misrule and the party won't even reach the three figure mark in 14th Lok Sabha," he asserted.

The Congress, he said, could not do in 50 years what Mr. Vajpayee did in just six years. The people of the country are sure about their choice of Mr. Vajpayee as the next Prime Minister. "It happened only once before in the 1952 polls when the people wanted only Jawaharlal Nehru as their Prime Minister,'' Mr. Advani said.

On Indo-Pakistan relations, he said it was moving towards normalisation and the recent tour of the Indian cricket team to Pakistan had cemented the ties. "The entire credit goes to Vajpayee."

Referring to the North-East, he said Mr. Vajpayee had paid special attention to the region. " The creation of the special Ministry of DONER for the region is a pointer to Vajpayeeji's concern."

He appealed to the extremist groups in the region ``to eschew violence as the solution to their problems is in the ballot and not bullet." They must come to the negotiation table, he said adding, "Yesterday, I received a call from Tripura that two extremist outfits are eager to talk to me."

PTI, UNI

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