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Advani sceptical of Congress crossing 2-digit mark in Lok Sabha

Dismissing exit poll forecasts of a hung Lok Sabha, Deputy PM Advani has said he will be surprised if the Cong was able to cross the two-digit mark in terms of seats in this elections.
PTI | By Press Trust of India, Durgapur (west Bengal)
UPDATED ON APR 29, 2004 01:19 PM IST

Dismissing exit poll forecasts of a hung Lok Sabha and depleted strength of the BJP-led NDA, Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani on Wednesday said he would be surprised if the Congress was able to cross the two-digit mark in terms of seats in this elections.

''I will be surprised if they (Congress) can cross the two-digit mark in terms of seats in this election,'' Advani said at an election rally in support of BJP's candidate for Durgapur Lok Sabha seat Sibnarayan Saha at the Rajiv Gandhi Maidan in Durgapur.

Stating that the Congress was 'sinking' at an alarming speed, Advani said there was a time when Congress towered above other political parties, ''but BJP has now become the principal party in the country.''

Attacking the Congress for its 'failure' to project its prime ministerial candidate, he said the BJP-led NDA had projected Atal Bihari Vajpayee as its prime ministerial candidate again.

''But Vajpayeeji will contest against whom? There is a question mark. In the last three or four days, I have been asking Vajpayee is to contest against whom? Several question marks have arisen on this issue since Congress is yet to announce its prime ministerial candidate,'' he said.

Stating that the nation saw seven Prime Ministers in the last 10 years, Advani said the BJP-led NDA was the only alternative to govern the country in the next five years.

''We could give one Prime Minister and NDA can provide the political stability and political certainty which Congress cannot give,'' he said.

Hitting out at the Congress for entering into a 'secret understanding' with the CPI (M) to form a government at the Centre, he ridiculed the Congress move to seek the support of Left parties.

Advani also criticised the CPI (M) for its 'open declaration' that it would support a Sonia-led government at the Centre, which, he said, had the 'least chance of being voted to power'.

''Congress and the Left parties should self introspect. It is ridiculous that the communist parties are now trying to act as 'B' team of the Congress in their desperate bid to form a government at the Centre,'' he said. No party could not flourish by becoming the 'B' team of another party.

Dwelling on the NDA government's performance, the Deputy Prime Minister said when the country was on the path of development and the NDA was committed to make India a fully developed nation by 2020, ''there are attempts of putting roadblocks in its way''.

'Communists an extinct political species'

The Deputy Prime Minister has dubbed communists as an 'extinct political species' and slammed the Left Front, ruling West Bengal for the last 27 years, for its failure to inject work culture, which besides trade unionism was standing in the way of investments coming to the state.

"Communists have become an extinct political species in most parts of India and surviving only in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura," Advani said.

Advani said: "The Left Front is ruling for the last 27 years. Absence of work culture, besides trade unionism are standing in the way of bringing investments to the state."

Despite investment potential, he said lack of proper atmosphere was 'driving away' investors and there had been flight of capital.

Advani alleged that 'one-party rule' had been continuing in West Bengal for the past several years. "That is why they have no excuse to offer for failure to attract investments," he said, expressing the Centre's concern at the situation.

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