PM, Dy PM 'running away' from debate on public issues: Cong
Vajpayee and Advani are 'running away' from public debate on matters facing the people, Congress charged.
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and deputy LK Advani are "running away" from a public debate on matters confronting the people, the Congress charged on Saturday.
They were raking up the issue of Sonia Gandhi's foreign origin because of their "parochial and bigoted mindset", it added.
"It is due to his (Advani's) ideological mindset, sectarian, parochial and bigoted approaches. Vajpayee too had spoken the same thing yesterday," party spokesman Anand Sharma told reporters when asked to comment on the Deputy Prime Minister's statement that the foreign origin issue of Gandhi was not personal but a political question.
He said the Prime Minister, his Deputy and other BJP leaders needed to re-educate themselves as to "what is Indian culture and that about Indian Constitution and raise issues which are not addressed by the Constitution".
Sharma said that the NDA Government was not coming forward for a public debate with Congress as the coalition government was "rattled and exposed."
Asked about Advani's reported remark that Congress would not cross the double digit fugure in the coming Lok Sabha polls, Sharma said the Deputy Prime Minister should restrict the concern to his party "whose countdown has already begun."
On the BJP launching a mega election campaign from April six, he said "I don't know what campaign BJP is going to launch, but this is the same government which stationed troops on the border for ten months without any sepcific reasons.
To a question that the Congress and its allies were yet to name their leader, Sharma said "We will announce the name of the leader when the time is appropriate."
He recalled that in 1996 and 1998, the BJP and its partners had not disclosed the name of their leader till the letter of AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa was received.
Sharma said that BJP was rattled by Congress which had joined hands with secular forces in several states and had already "conceded that Prime Minister's chair is slipping away" from them and "that is why they want to know the name of the next Prime Minister".
Asked whether Congress has reached any electoral understanding in UP, he said Congress would continue its endeavour to unite like-minded secular forces to take on BJP and defeat it.
About party's campaign strategy in the wake of its continued support from outside to the Mulayam Singh government, he said "our main objective is to defeat BJP."
On the possibility of withdrawal of support to Yadav government in UP, he said "sometime, decisions are taken when the time is appropriate".
On the nomination of former Union Minister P Chidamabaran by the Congress from Shivganga Lok Sabha Constituency in Tamil Nadu, Sharma said that Chidamabaran was associated with the party for a long time and contesting on Congress symbol.
"A person contesting on the symbol of a particular party will automatically become member of that party in Parliament", he said adding that he himself had expressed so when he met party leadership.