BJP dares Cong to announce PM candidate for next polls

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Vajpayee
New Delhi, Jan 28: Pledging to repeat Gujarat performance in the next Lok Sabha and assembly polls, BJP today challenged the Congress to announce its Prime Ministerial candidate, while the party's National Council endorsed Mr L K Advani's name for the same and took a bold initiative in earmarking 33 per cent organisational posts for women.

Lambasting the ruling coalition at the Centre for dismel performance on various fronts, the BJP exuded confidence that it will clinch power at the Centre and win several states going to the polls in the coming months. Gearing up for the polls, the party had already announced its Election Campaign Committee. Party President Rajnath Singh, in his address at the two-day BJP National Council, which began here today at the sprawling Ram Lila Ground, while making an oblique reference to UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, taunted the Congress for talking about the single party rule, observing," while Congress is talking about the single party rule, it is not clear about the single centre of authority within the government of their party." Mr Singh said the BJP had already announced its prime ministerial candidate but he would like to ask the UPA who would be their candidate for the post of PM in the forthcoming Lok Sabha election.

"I don't think the Congress will be able to answer this question, because ironically, while the Congress does have a Prime Minister, it does not have a prime ministerial candidate," he said.

Watch Video: BJP gears up for election


In another major development, the party reserved 33 per cent party posts for women. The announcement instantly sparked off euphoria among women delegates who rushed to the podium and showered rose and marigold petals on party leaders--Mr Advani, Mr Rajnath Singh, Ms Sushma Swaraj and others--hailing the move as a landmark.

The party, which held its one-day National Executive state assembly, took stock of the entire political situation vis-e-vis UPA's performance at the Centre and State Governments' report cards.

Elated over the party's performance in states which went to the polls recently, the BJP leadership said both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh had given a befitting reply to those who tried to paint the party as being communal and inflicted by internal strife.

Attacking the UPA for alleged minority appeasement, Mr Singh said the PM's statement that the Muslims should have first right over national resources was 'truly shocking'. It cautioned the government against any communal budgeting in the forthcoming Five-year Plan. The party leadership also aired concern over increasing terrorist attacks in different parts of the country and said if the BJP was voted to the power, POTA would be restored for the security of the masses, promising the party's support to any anti-terrorist law placed before Parliament.

Mr Singh also asked the Centre about the status of Afzal Guru's clemency appeal. "Where exactly is Afzal's clemency appeal lying between Home Ministry and Rashtrapati Bhawan?" he asked.

Although Mr Singh's speech had no mention of the Ramjanambhoomi movement, he sought an apology from the Government for filing and later withdrawing an affadavit before the Supreme Court, questioning the existence of Lord Rama in the Setu Samundaram Project issue.

"In the new affidavit they should express regret for hurting the sentiments of Hindus and also make public the report on Setu Samundaram Project submitted to it," he demanded.

The tone and tenor of the deliberations was aimed at putting the party machinery in poll gear for an early Lok Sabha polls and elections in Tripura, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Karnataka, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh and possibility of polls in Jharkhand and Goa because of the current political situation.

In the afternoon, the Council, in its Agricultural resolution, also pleaded fair deal to farmers and landless labourers who were being forced to commit suicide in various parts of the country and called for remunerative prices for agricultural produce and protection of their rights. Eds pick up suitably from earlier series.

UNI

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