Vote for stability: PM

Updated on Apr 14, 2004 07:21 PM IST

Vajpayee urged people to vote for bigger parties to ensure stability in India.

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PTI | ByIndo-Asian News Service, Bangalore

People should vote for bigger parties in order to ensure continuity and stability in the country, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has said.

He was addressing a mammoth campaign rally here Tuesday night to seek the people's mandate for his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) both in New Delhi and in Karnataka.

Vajpayee said there was a need to choose political parties having mass appeal and a strong presence for governing the country with stability and providing development.

"The last time, in the absence of any single party securing majority, the BJP forged an alliance with smaller and regional parties to form a coalition government at the centre.

"In spite of differences and challenges, the (BJP-led) National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had demonstrated successfully that it was possible to govern the country under a coalition over the last six years.

"On earlier occasions, however, we had seen how governments formed by other parties with the support of the Congress could not survive long, resulting in instability and frequent elections," Vajpayee said, referring to the short tenures of governments led by V.P. Singh, Chandra Shekhar, HD Deve Gowda and IK Gujral between 1989 and 1996.

Vajpayee, who was behind schedule by three hours for the public meeting at the National College grounds, said: "The Congress, however, does not believe in forging such alliances. It was, in fact, against coalition rule in the centre and dared the NDA to run for a full term.

"But we have proved it wrong and shown to the people it was possible to maintain the coalition dharma with a common agenda and commitment."

He said India was on the threshold of explosive growth in all sectors of the economy and agriculture on account of initiatives taken by the government.

"In this context, I would like to caution the people, especially the younger generation that it should not look for only government jobs, which are declining and are likely to be fewer in the coming years.

"We need to create new jobs and more jobs in other areas such as IT, manufacturing industry, services, infrastructure and the private sector. It is possible provided we facilitate the generation of such jobs.

"But for this, job aspirants should change their way of thinking. Instead of sitting in a government office with paper and pen, they must be prepared to go into the field and sweat it out to become self-reliant and prosperous."

The prime minister denied that communalism was spreading in the country.

"There is no truth in it. In fact, Muslims across the country are getting attracted towards the BJP in large numbers. What is the reason for such a dramatic change?

"The change in their (Muslims) perception has come about after realising that other political parties have been using them merely as vote banks and were never bothered about their welfare.

"They are convinced that the so-called secular parties were interested only in their votes and not in their welfare and progress," Vajpayee affirmed.

Vajpayee said the NDA and the BJP saw the minorities as citizens of a great country, as Indians and children of this motherland.

"We see and treat them like any other human being. They must also get a share of the nation's prosperity. They should be carried along with others in our march towards a developed country.

"Barring what happened in Gujarat (in 2002), peace and social harmony prevailed throughout the country during our tenure," Vajpayee said.

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