Cong campaign questions PM's health

PTI | ByPress Trust of India, Bhopal
May 05, 2004 12:39 PM IST

MP Prithiviraj Chauhan Congress in-charge of MP picked on real issues such as corruption and Vajpayee's ability to head the nation to counter BJP's non-issues such as Sonia Gandhi's foreign origin.

In an effort to turn the tables on BJP over the leadership issue, the Congress on Sunday questioned Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's health and demanded that the saffron party must declare the successor of the premier.

HT Image
HT Image

"Prime Minister's health has become an issue... His talk is incoherent... The people of the nation must know everything about Vajpayee's health," Congress MP Prithiviraj Chauhan, in-charge of the party affairs in Madhya Pradesh, told reporters here.

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Apparently peeved by BJP raking up the leadership issue of Congress-led coalition in the post electoral scenario, Chauhan said "Vajpayee is talking about his successor... At the time when we are midway in the general elections, the country needs to know as to who will replace him".

Claiming that he did not wish to talk about the Prime Minister's health, the Congress Rajya Sabha MP alleged that "a coterie in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) is running the administration".

Playing down the issue of the leader of Congress-led coalition in the event of it being in the position to form the next government, Chauhan said in the five-decade parliamentary history of the country, the Opposition has never projected its Prime Ministerial nominee.

The elected MPs of the secular and democratic parties would be choosing their leader at the parliamentary party meeting, the Congress leader said.

Stating that Congress has led coalition governments without compromising on its ideals and principles, Chauhan alleged that the BJP has 'compromised' with its principles while running the 24-party government at the Centre.

Referring to exit polls predictions of a hung Parliament, the Congress leader said, "BJP's efforts to divert the electoral debate from 'real issues' by raking up matters like AICC President Sonia Gandhi's foreign origin, Bofors and indecent comments by the likes of Vinay Katiyar and Narendra Modi, have failed to impress the electorate".

BJP's six-year regime is "nothing but a failure" compared to erstwhile rule of Congress and that is why BJP was taking up the non-issues, he claimed.

Chauhan exuded confidence that the BJP-led NDA would not be able to form the next government and it would be a secular coalition at the helm of affairs in the Centre.

Stating that his party was opposed to the exit polls at a time when multi-phased polling was being held, the Congress leader said "an internal survey conducted by his party ahead of the polls had given more seats to Congress compared to opinion polls conducted by media organisations".

He also questioned NDA's logic of preponing the general elections.

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