BJP now wants a vote to fight Pak

SANDESH PRABHUDESAI, PANAJI | 21 May 2002 22:47 IST

While Indian soldiers are countering Pakistani shelling along the border, the top politicians are busy here in a war of accusations on the issue of handling the Kashmir issue, obviously to make it a poll issue and garner votes.

Union minister for parliamentary affairs Pramod Mahajan literally asked for votes for the BJP in Goa's state Assembly elections to strengthen hands of prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, to fight Pakistan.

After arriving here to address his first public meeting in chief minister Manohar Parrikar's Panaji constituency, Mahajan even took the people on a emotional ride. "The man heading the nation is fighting to save India at 77 and we need to come forward to support him by voting for the BJP", he said.

Taking the opportunity, he came down heavily on the manner in which the Congress handled the Kashmir issue, right from the days of Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi.

"If they had not compromised every time, Kashmir issue would have not existed today", said Mahajan, adding that only the BJP and Vajpayee has taken a tough stand on the issue.

Kamalnath, the Congress general secretary, however flayed these claims at a press conference later, stating that the BJP is unable to even perceive the situation properly and handle the issue of cross-border terrorism with a firm hand. He however fully supported any action initiated by the centre to pin down cross-border terrorism.

"Their mere statements are not being taken seriously even by Pakistan today. What we need is action", said Kamalnath, though he declined to elaborate what kind of action he perceives.

Referring to Vajpayee's Lahore visit and inviting Pakistan president General Musharraf to India, the Congress leader said the BJP government achieved nothing but cutting a sorry figure in front of the whole world.

As the Congress has made Gujarat a prime poll issue to counter BJP's good governance slogan in Goa, the ruling party perhaps now plans to counter it by taking the voters on a patriotic trip, thanks to the war kind of situation emerging along the border. 


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