Governance better than Ayodhya: Advani

SANDESH PRABHUDESAI, PANAJI | 16 May 2002 22:41 IST

"I hope more elections in India are fought on the issues like good governance rather than emotional issues like Ayodhya or Indira Gandhi assassination".

Well, these are the words of none other than union home minister Lalkrishna Advani, whose rathyatra from Somnath to Ayodhya, which raised people's religious sentiments throughout India, led the Bharatiya Janata Party to power ultimately.

He is very happy that his party is fighting elections in Goa this time on the issue of good governance and its performance of 16 months. "Such down-to-earth issues relating to governance should determine the verdict", he says.

Elaborating on what kind of emotional issues he was referring to, Advani initially said he was basically referring to the past where elections were fought on emotional issues like Indira Gandhi's assassination etc.

When asked whether it also includes issue of Ayodhya, he promptly replied: "oh yes, you can call that also". However, he does not agree that Ayodhya was not a right issue to fight elections on.

"Every issue has its importance at different point of time. Good governance is a right issue at this time", he said, while also recalling how first election in India was fought on the issue of freedom of the country.

Kicking off the election campaign of the saffron party in Goa, the BJP is consciously trying to avoid the burning issue of ongoing communal riots in Gujarat or even talk about its normal slogan of Hindutva.

Chief minister Manohar Parrikar refuses to even believe that Gujarat is an issue for Goans to vote. "Why should it be an issue at all ? We are fighting elections in Goa, not in Gujarat", he quips.

Union minister Sushma Swaraj, taking cognisance of the situation during her campaign visit here, however accused the Congress of making Gujarat an issue to garner votes in their favour.

In fact Congress circles claim that even majority of Hindu community will vote against the BJP, solely due to Gujarat, leave aside the minority votes of Christians and Muslims. BJP minister Shaikh Hassan however claims that Goan Muslims are wise enough to realise that the BJP is not responsible for Gujarat carnage.

To tide over the situation, the BJP has however skilfully designed its campaign to highlight its performance of 16 months in terms of financial management, floating of schemes for the helpless poor as well as unemployed and several other developmental works, which had not taken place during erstwhile Congress regime.

Thousands of booklets have been prepared only on performance-based development while its advertising campaign and highlights on the website also focus on these issues. The fight is thus between the performance and the communal image of the BJP.


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