Agriculture crisis major poll issue for BJP: Naidu

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Pune, Jan 25 (UNI) Senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu today predicted his party's return to the Centre later this year as the Congress led UPA government had failed, resulting in the agriculture crisis, unabated price rise, rising unemployment and terrorism.

Addressing a news conference here, Mr Naidu said the Central government will not be able to complete its term and an announcement of mid term polls can be expected later this year.

The BJP will have a comfortable majority in Parliament. The inability of UPA government and particularly Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, to deal with the agricultural sector had led to a critical situation that would cost Central Government dearly.

''Sharad Pawar was given the portfolio because he is a leader of farmers, but he has failed totally. The sector is doing badly, we were exporting earlier, now they are giving better price to the Australian or the US farmers as compared with ours. The Prime Minister's package is just a notional one,'' he said.

Mr Naidu said the growing unemployment, price rise and unabated terrorism will be the other key issues of the BJP during election campaign.

''The government has survived only because many corruption cases against its constituents have bound them all together, however, many are leaving,'' he said. In some Left dominated states like West Bengal and Kerala, the contest will be between the Congress and the Left parties.

When asked whether 'Ram' will no longer be an issue, the BJP leader said the 'Ram' issue will always exist.

''We would like to build a Ram temple. We are projected incorrectly, we are not against Ram Sethu project. All we want is that the Ram Sethu be preserved for posterity. Similarly, on nuclear deal, we are for the Indo-US nuclear deal and only want that the clauses that states that the US will have the right to call back the fuses amended.

''We are a sovereign nation, so we cannot allow this,'' he said.

Mr Naidu said the callous attitude of the Central Government had hurt millions of poultry farmers. It had failed to take preventive action when the poultry disease was coming from across Bangladesh resulting in the culling of 25 lakh birds. The government has to take steps to dispel fears among the people and the industry.

To another query about the Mayawati factor and the BSP, he said her performance would not be repeated in any other states due to different political compulsions.

''There is no fear from Mayawati to the BJP, if at all only the congress will lose seats to the BSP,'' he said.

When asked about the Bharat Ratna Award to former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Mr Naidu said the BJP's stand is clear that many people have received the award in the past. Among the present contenders, Mr Vajpayee is the only one deserving candidate for it.

When asked about the challange from Third Front or the UNPA, he said it is like a ''Mirage''. It seems that it is there but it simply disappears. The fight in the next election will be between the Congress and the BJP only.

Mr Naidu was in the city to attain Republic Day celebrations at the MIT college here.

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