Congress haunts Advani on Kandahar revelations

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New Delhi, Mar 25 (UNI) The Congress today said BJP leader L K Advani was a "lame duck" as Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister under the NDA rule, and asked why he did not resign if he was not happy with the decision to release the three Kashmiri terrorists in Kandahar in lieu of 161 passengers on board the Indian Airlines flight hijacked on December 24, 1999.

Referring to Mr Advani's revelations in his latest book "My Country, My Life" and also in a television interview that he was not consulted nor was he aware that the then Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh would be personally going to Kandahar to secure the release of the passengers, AICC General Secretary Veerappa Moily told mediapersons that "this goes to prove that Mr Advani did not enjoy the trust of his ministry, officials and the Cabinet".

"The incident had also betrayed the failure of the cabinet system for the first time in the country," he said, adding that Mr Advani, who was the "weakest and the shameful Home Minister," was not taken seriously by even his own party colleagues.

Asked if the then Prime Minister A B Vajpayee was also the weakest, Mr Moily said he had a lot of sympathy for him.

"He (Mr Vajpayee) is the object of sympathy...who could not understand and communicate. As Prime Minister he was not allowed to function." "The NDA government, it appears, has no thoughtout policy on how to deal with terrorism. Its reaction to the Kandahar hijack episode and the revelations made recently (by Mr Advani) go to show that the NDA government's reactions were knee-jerk and not well deliberated." In this context, Mr Moily said the lack of communication and understanding between the members of the Cabinet of the NDA government were clear in the Kandahar episode. The Home Minister (Mr Advani) not being privy to the decision to send Mr Jaswant Singh to Kandahar showed the peculiar fashion in which the NDA government functioned.

"Can it then be understood that it was not the well deliberated stand of the NDA government but different ministers of that government working at different tangents?" Asked how the Congress would have handled a Kandahar-like situation, he said "the handling of Kandahar hijack is in contrast of the brilliant manner in which the capture of Hazratbal Mosque in Kashmir in 1994 by the then Congress government was dealt with resulting in the terrorists eating humble pie." However, the then NDA government straightaway played into the hands of ISI.

AICC Spokesman Abishek Manu Singhvi, who was also present, said the book of Mr Advani was written to conceal than to reveal.

UNI SH PK RK1818

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