The BJP launched two Jan Swabhiman rath yatras, from Varanasi and Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, in the presence of its top leaders, to establish connection with the people of the state, where the saffron brigade has been out of power for nearly a decade.
While BJP patriarch LK Advani flagged off the Kalraj Mishra led UP tour from Varanasi in east UP, senior BJP and NDA leaders Sushma Swaraj and Sharad Yadav, flagged off the other yatra, led by former UP chief minister Rajnath Singh from Mathura, in west UP.
Before flagging off Mishra’s rath, Advani, said, "The Jan Chetna rath yatra is not aimed at repackaging myself. Nor is it about the BJP. It’s about corruption." Addressing a public meeting at the Bharat Mata temple ground, prior to the launch of the UP tour, Advani, told the capacity crowd, that his yatra was planned in wake of serial scams that broke out during the Congress led UPA II regime.
"Those in the UPA government did not even spare the land meant for war widows," he said."Even the home minister is involved in the 2G spectrum scam and Murli Manohar Joshi has exposed him."
Advani, earlier visited the Kashi Vishwanath temple, where some Congress workers showed him black flags and raised slogans. Advani praised the judiciary, the public accounts committee which is chaired by senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi and the comptroller and auditor general (CAG), for actually fighting corruption, though he wondered why about Congress government’s silence, in the face of unprecedented scams.
Advani also spoke of black money and said, if the ‘black billions’ were to be brought back the fate of nearly 6 lakh villages in India could be transformed. He also attacked the BSP government in UP, saying corruption can’t be wiped out from the country, unless the cleansing begins from UP. Advani said, of all his five previous yatras, the two-day old Jan Chetna yatra against corruption has proved to be the most satisfying.
Before crossing over to Madhya Pradesh, Advani also raised the temple issue at another meeting in Mirzapur, but party leaders said, "The temple talk was mostly symbolic, aimed at keeping the Hindutva voters interested." Kalraj Mishra also hit out at the BSP government, calling it the most corrupt.
"Crime and law and order along with corruption have been the high points of the BSP government in UP,” he said.
In Mathura, senior leader Rajnath Singh attacked the BSP, once again reiterating his pledge to not side with the BSP. Singh, who has consistently maintained that there won’t be any tie up with the BSP found his view endorsed by Sushma Swaraj.
"We would prefer to sit in the opposition, than ink a post poll pact with the BSP," he said, amidst chants of vande mataram.
NDA leader Sharad Yadav said, "Only Rajnath Singh is capable of taking on the UP chief minister Mayawati." Sushma Swaraj hoped Rajnath’s yatra would help bring the BJP to power in UP.