Cong gaining momentum: Antony

Updated on Apr 24, 2004 04:09 PM IST

Kerala CM AK Antony said the Congress was fast gaining momentum while the NDA was losing ground gradually.

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PTI | ByPress Trust of India, Kozhikode

Kerala Chief Minister AK Antony on Friday said the Congress was fast gaining momentum while the BJP-led NDA was losing ground gradually in several states even as the Lok Sabha elections were in process in the country.

The Congress is retrieving ground in many places while, in sharp contrast, the NDA is fast losing its hold, so as to ensure the return of a 'secular' government at the Centre, he said while participating in a 'meet the leaders' programme, organised by the Calicut Press club here.

Noting that the Congress was keen to keep the NDA out of power this time, Antony said his party and its allies at the national level were gaining momentum rapidly to put up a good performance at the hustings.

In Kerala, the BJP's dreams to open its poll account would continue to remain so, as its only hope, O Rajagopal is likely to taste defeat again in Thiruvananthapuram, he said.

On the opposition charge that he was "misusing" the official machinery for his ongoing 'navothana yatra' in the state, he said his yatra involved only minimum security and expenditure unlike the Bharat Uday Yatra of Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani.

Coming down heavily on CPI-M state leaders, VS Achuthanandan and Pinarayi Vijayan, for carrying out "a false and undignified campaign" against Congress, Antony said "I only advise them to learn from us the lessons of forget and forgive" to facilitate a healthy political trend.

Antony said VHP leader, Praveen Togadia would not be allowed to enter the state till the elections were over as he had "misused" the opportunity given to him earlier by "violating" rules and engaging himself in "triggering communal passion".

Asked why then was Togadia's telephone message allowed to be broadcast at Thiruvananthapuram recently, when his entry was banned to the city, he said cases had been booked in this regard and the probe was on.

On the 'new-found' unity in the state Congress, the Chief Minister said the unity would last even after the elections as senior party leader, K Karunakaran himself had stated.

On the party's chances in the state, Antony said though he was not in a position to predict the number of seats that the Congress would win, he could feel from the response being received to his yatra that things were fast moving in his party's favour.

Claiming that the UDF government had initiated several developmental projects, including the 'Global Investors' Meet', in the state during its present tenure, he said it was the opposition LDF that was blocking the development process.

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