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Vajpayee didn’t trust Advani, says Sonia

The Congress chief questions the BJP leader's ambivalence on the Kandahar hijack issue, reports KS Tomar.
Hindustan Times | By KS Tomar, Dungarpur (rajasthan)
UPDATED ON APR 04, 2008 01:51 AM IST

Launching a scathing attack against BJP's prime ministerial candidate LK Advani, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi questioned his self-admitted ignorance of the decision to send the then external affairs minister Jaswant Singh with terrorists to free Indian hostages in Kandahar in 1999.

"If he (Advani) was not aware of the cabinet decision to send Jaswant Singh on a plane to Kandahar with dreaded terrorists, then it clearly reflected the lack of confidence of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in him," said the Congress president while addressing a rally at Banshewar in Dungarpur district of Rajasthan on Thursday.

"Interestingly, when the home minister of the then NDA government says he was not aware of the release of terrorists, it showed that Vajpayee did not trust him," she said. Citing an example, the Congress chief said former defence minister George Fernandes has asserted that Advani knew Kandahar decision. She questioned the silence of Jaswant Singh on the issue. "Why Jaswant Singh has not broken his silence? It is difficult to know who is speaking the truth and who is not. Why are they hiding the truth?" Sonia said.

"What did it mean? Why did it happen?" wondered Sonia in her speech heard with rapt attention by the tribals who had assembled from nearby districts. The UPA chairperson said the BJP only talked about nationalism and terrorism but did nothing about it. "I want to know which party pandered to terrorists and sent them to Afghanistan. It was not the UPA but the BJP," she said.

Touching upon the issue of price rise, the Congress president said, "the states have got the responsibility of controlling the price rise." The Centre, she said, was making sincere efforts to check the upward price spiral. Prices of petrol, wheat, cereals, rice etc have gone up globally but we have not increased the prices of fertilizers and kerosene, she said.

Dubbing the state BJP government as corrupt and anti-poor, Sonia said, "Centre has formulated several projects and schemes but state government is misrepresenting them to derive the political mileage out of them."

Regarding loan waiver, she said, "It might not benefit some farmers in Rajasthan, but I hope PM will find out a solution."

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