NDAs candidate for top post weak in action: Manmohan

Written by Political Bureau | Mumbai | Updated: Apr 15 2009, 04:20am hrs
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday stepped up his attack against the NDAs prime ministerial candidate LK Advani for terming him weak PM and claimed that Advani has the unique ability to combine strength in speech with weakness in action. This is not the kind of strength we need, he said.

Further, the PM said unlike Advani, he will not be found weeping in a corner while hoodlums tear down a centuries old mosque. The obvious reference was the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6 allegedly by kar sevaks in the presence of Advani and other top BJP leaders.

The PM was speaking to reporters after an exclusive interaction with the industrialists, thinkers, and intellectuals organised by the Mumbai Pradesh Congress Committee.

Nor will I be found wringing my hands in frustration while one of my chief ministers condones a pogrom targeted at minorities. And I will certainly not say things in Pakistan that offend every Indian and then abandon his stand when it becomes politically inconvenient within his party, Singh said. This was referring to the Centres observers role during Gujarat riots and also Advanis turn around statement over Pakistans architect Barrister Jinnah.

Advani had agreed to release the terrorists and subjected his cabinet colleague Jaswant Singh to the humiliation of having personally escorted the terrorists during Kandahar episode to their safe haven, said the Prime Minister.

He (Singh) termed as total lie BJP chief Rajnath Singhs statement that he, as the then Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, was consulted before release of Kandahar terrorists.

Throughout my life, I have believed that substance triumphs over style, performance over public relations, and hard work over short cuts. I am not a sloganeer. I will readily concede that most of my opponents make more rousing speeches. They may have more catchy phrases and may run better marketing campaigns, Singh said.

Moreover, Singh noted this is not time for sloganeering nor for leaders who cannot stand by their conviction. It is a time for action, a time for decisiveness, a time for vision, he said.

PM rejected BJPs suggestions for a TV debate with Advani and said his five-year performance will speak itself.

Singh reiterated that the 1984 riots and the Gujarat carnage were a blot on this great tradition. I am proud to say that there was no large-scale communal violence during my governments regime. I guarantee that will maintain this record in future, he said and added that the Congress-led government after assuming power after the present general elections will bring in a bill to maintain communal harmony.

Singh observed that there is a lesson in our recent experience for secular parties, which took for alternative political alignments. They must consider carefully whether their search for political alignments will only work to the advantage of communal forces.