Baton passes, party for parallel polls

Hindustan Times | ByShekhar Iyer, New Delhi
Jan 28, 2008 01:40 AM IST

Rajnath Singh saying that former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has passed the baton to L.K. Advani. Shekhar Iyer reports.

A three-day conclave of top BJP leaders opened on Sunday with party chief Rajnath Singh saying that former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has passed the baton to L.K. Advani. He added everyone needs to work hard to capitalise on the “failures” of the Congress-led UPA government to ensure a NDA victory in the next elections.

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Singh also revived the BJP’s plea for simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies, urging the Election Commission and other parties to give a serious thought to the idea so that they can be freed from being in perpetual election-mode.

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“The situation has taken such a turn that one or the other state is going to polls every two to four months. Ten state elections are due this year. Repeated elections have left no time for the parties to engage themselves in constructive work.”

He also described the crisis being faced by farmers as one of the biggest failures of the Congress-led government and wanted a special session of Parliament to discuss ways to revive agriculture.

“Atalji has blessed Advaniji while handing over responsibilities to him. By endorsing Advaniji as our natural choice as prime minister candidate, all our friends in the NDA have given a message of unity and collectivity,” Singh said in his presidential address to the BJP national executive.

“The responsibility of realising the unfulfilled dreams of Atalji has been given to Advaniji. We have to convert this golden opportunity into victory,” he said, declaring “the NDA is the need of the hour and the demand of the nation”.

Hailing Advani, the BJP chief said his name is well-known in Indian politics, having a special place among all the political parties and has given “memorable contribution” along with Vajpayee for political rise of the party.

“Advaniji is known for his integrity and commitment to security, development and good governance,” Singh was quoted as saying by BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad who said the party chief felt an NDA government under Advani would show the same good results as the one led by Vajpayee between 1998-2004.

Prasad said Singh also spoke of expanding the alliance but did not name possible allies saying it was a matter of strategy. Singh’s speech is supposed to serve as the base document for discussingt the poll preparations, which will be given a final shape at the two-day BJP national council meet, beginning from Monday.

Singh, who touched on several issues, said, in the last three-and-a-half years, Congress has lost its governments in six states, its ally RJD lost power in Bihar, TRS has withdrawn support while Vaiko's MDMK left the UPA and Lok Dal distanced itself from it, he pointed out.

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