Act on themes of development: Kalam

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New Delhi, Sep 23: 'Hold Parliamentary, Assembly and Panchayat elections on a single day'. This was the dream shared by the former Pesident of India Dr A P J Abdul Kalam to the nation on Monday, Sep 22. He vehemently criticised the fact that country is busy in elections throughout the year which is hampering the nation's development.

Giving the keynote address at the IBN7 Diamond States Awards on Monday, Sep 22 night, Dr Kalam said, ''Though holding all elections on the same day is an impractical dream but it can be achieved if the political leaders have the time. If the country will remain busy in elections all through the year, how can we ensure that the development will not be interrupted?'' he asked. Union Minister for Urban Development Jaipal Reddy said ''Dr Kalam's idea is desirable but it is utopian given the Parliamentary constraints.'' However, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister P K Dhumal agreed with Dr Kalam's views but when asked for her opinion, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit quipped, ''I am ready for my own elections.''

Dr Kalam also opined ''Political leaders should act on themes of development. They can be great facilitators towards the development of the nation. The future voters will vote only for those who practice developmental politics.'' Adding here, the Bharat Ratna recipient said that developed states are the foundation of developed India. A number of states have good developmental schemes but the sum total of all those grand schemes has not reached the target citizens.

The former president suggested several areas in various states which could be developed to achieve sustainability and growth.

He suggested the development of Horticuluture in Mizoram, Horticulture and Floriculture in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, creation of Nalanda University in Bihar, creation of Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Madhya Pradesh and food processing in Karnataka.

''If done in an integrated way, all these fields would improve the human development index of their respective states,'' Dr Kalam said.

The states of Kerala and Goa bagged five awards each at the IBN7 Diamond States Award ceremony including India's best big state and India's best small state awards respectively.

The state of Kerala also won in Healthcare, Education, Women Empowerment and Basic Infrastructure category. The state of Goa won in Employment, Poverty Reduction, Women Empowerment and Basic Infrastructure category.

Delhi won the best small state award for Water and Sanitation category. Other award winners included Punjab (Water and Sanitation) Gujarat (Employment), Mizoram (Education), Sikkim (Citizen Security and Justice), Uttaranchal (Citizen Security and Justice) and Jammu and Kashmir (Poverty Reduction) The winners were felicitated by the chief guest Dr Kalam.

Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, Home Minister Shivraj Patil, senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi and Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen were also present on the occasion.

The awards were given in partnership with the Outlook magazine for human resource and social developmental efforts by the states of the country. The event will be telecast on IBN7 channel on Saturday, Sep 27 2000 hrs.

UNI

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