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Advani woos Muslims

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Lal Krishna Advani assured Muslims of a good and impartial government on Tuesday once the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government returned to power. Ashok Mishra & Vikas Pathak report.

india Updated: Oct 19, 2010 23:43 IST
Ashok Mishra & Vikas Pathak

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Lal Krishna Advani assured Muslims of a good and impartial government on Tuesday once the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government returned to power.

Addressing his first Bihar poll rallies in Motihari and Muzaffarpur, Advani sought to connect with the Muslim voter, since north Bihar has a substantial Muslim population, and appealed for a bigger mandate for the NDA government.

Advani and BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad, however, did not utter a word on the Ayodhya verdict. While Advani was one of the main players in the 1992 Babri mosque demolition, Prasad appeared for Ram Lalla in the Ayodhya title suit.

Defending Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who has been kept out of Bihar on Nitish Kumar's insistence, he said, "The per capita income of Muslims in Gujarat was much higher than that in other states."

Still, Advani said, the BJP's rivals accused it of being partial to the Hindu community. It's only a ploy to "serve their political interests", he said.

Advani said his party and allies were the best in the country.

"We nourish the dream of Sushashan and Suraaj (good governance) wherever we are given the opportunity to serve people."

Taking a dig at RJD chief Lalu Prasad, he said now the people should choose between the government that worked and the one that only talked big and thrived on chaos.

He said Bihar was once considered to be the best-governed state. But for 15 years, the state had to endure Prasad's "Jungle Raj" when abduction had become an industry.

Next in Advani's firing line was the Congress for supporting the RJD in Bihar.

"Congress and RJD are two sides of the same coin. Wait for sometime and you will see that they will eventually come together."

He said although the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government took credit for the proposed Central university in Motihari, it was actually Kumar who should get the accolade.

"The Centre simply looks into the financial part and it is the local government that takes a final decision on its location. Let me assure you that if Nitish Kumar has proposed Motihari, the university will be set up only here," said Advani.

He criticised the UPA government for messing up the Kashmir situation, saying that it was only with the support of the Congress that J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah could claim that Kashmir had only acceded to India, and not merged with it.