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Reach out to Muslims, Christians: Advani

BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate LK Advani gave a call to his party to shun hard line approach and reach out to every section of society, reports Shekhar Iyer.
Hindustan Times | By Shekhar Iyer, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUN 03, 2008 08:54 AM IST

BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate LK Advani on Monday gave a call to his party to shun hard line approach and reach out to every section of society, including Muslims and Christians who have remained aloof from the party.

Clearly projecting himself as a more acceptable PM, Advani told BJP leaders, some of whom are more swayed by the RSS' emphasis on ideology, that it is the only way "the BJP can become a clear winner" in the Lok Sabha polls next year.

Stating that "we have never had it so good," he announced that he was borrowing a phrase from the BJP's successful campaign in Gujarat to coin the party's slogan for the next Lok Sabha polls —"Jeetegi Bhajapa, Jeetega Bharat (When the BJP wins, India will win)."

But Advani’s remarks, in favour of a more centrist approach, were in contrast with what BJP chief Rajnath Singh had said on the opening day. Advani said, "We should emphasise that our party seeks all-round development and participation of minorities in a non-divisive and integrative agenda without recourse to appeasement or religion-based reservations."

Advani was clearly trying to undo any damage that the BJP leaders may have done to the NDA by raking up the Hindutva line. "Let's remember that the expansion, stability and cohesion of the NDA depends on our ability to attract and retain allies who may not be ideologically aligned with the BJP on all issues,” he said.

"Let's also remember that what the people of India are looking for is a government that can deliver honest and good governance and make India strong both in development and security," he added.

The BJP could expect more parties to join its alliance only if it pushed the agenda of "good governance, development and security" so that the party gets sufficient numerical strength in Parliament for a stable and strong government, he added.

Advani asked his partymen "not to ignore a single task, not to waste a single winnable seat to achieve our goal of securing a decisive majority for the NDA, with the BJP emerging as a strong anchor in the next Lok Sabha polls."

He said, "in all our mass campaigns, we should not only highlight the UPA government's failures, but also explain our own superior agenda of governance."

BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad quoted Advani as saying that "the BJP is a front runner because of the enormous psychological impact of victory in Karnataka all over the country. Let's now make it a winner."

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