TIME IS RUNNING OUT
|Scenes from NDA rally held in New Delhi on Friday to mark Prime Minister AB Vajpayees 3 years in office|
The PM also referred to his cancelling of Lucknow press conference on Sunday and said, I cancelled it because of the throat problem. Next day I see reports in the newspapers that Vajpayee ran away from Lucknow. Lucknow is my constituency. Why should I run from there....But newspapers want eye catching headlines.
On a philosophical note, he said you cannot do big things with a small heart...we (he and the DPM) will walk together, speak together and face challenges together.
In his 20-minute speech, the Prime Minister sought to play up his governments priorites including the foodgrain position, river water disputes, drought, economic situation and coalition politics.
On the economic front, Mr Vajpayee said inflation was well under control and foreign exchange reserves were comfortable. He flagged his commitment to development of roads and and housing.
The biggest achievement, Mr Vajpayee said, was that the government ensured peace and harmony. He blamed Pakistan for Indias terrorist problems. While Pakistan was claiming to fight terrorism, it had no hesitation in sending terrorist suicide squads into India to kill innocent people including women and children.
Referring to the just-concluded Assembly elections in Jammu and kashmir, he said holding of free and fair polls was a slap on the face of Pakistan and militants were hiding their faces in shame.
Claiming that the polls would change the course of history, he asked all political parties in the state to work together.
In an apparent reference to the on-going stand-off between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu on sharing of Cauvery waters, Mr Vajpayee made a veiled attack on Congress governments in the past for not taking any initiative in linking of rivers in the country.
Had major rivers been linked, the country would not have faced problems of recurrent drought and agriculture would not have remained solely dependent on the monsoon, Mr Vajpayee said.
In an oblique criticism of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Pravin Togadias remarks against Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Mr Vajpayee said there was no place for violence or abusive language in politics.
One should not cross the limits of decency and decorum and only civilised language should be used, he said.
Referring to the communal violence in Gujarat, he said what happened there cannot be forgotten. We should ensure that it is not repeated, he said.
Vajpayee was also critical of the incident in Jhajjar in Haryana in which five dalits were lynched recently.