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Tolerance for dissent crucial for democracy: Advani

Written by: Staff
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Pune, Mar 4 (UNI) Accountability and tolerance for dissent are two crucial factors for a vibrant democracy, senior BJP leader L K Advani said.

Delivering a lecture organised by MIT-School of Governance on ''Future of Indian Politics'' at the Ganesh Kala Krida, Mr Advani said that corruption needs to be weeded out of the system right from the top for a successful democracy.

He said the UPA government was finding scapegoats for its 'serious crimes' like ''Natwar Singh in oil-for-food scam, Quattrocchi and lately the alleged submarine deals could not be put under the carpet.'' The former Deputy Prime Minister said money power has crept into the system, which is used blatantly to influence the vote bank.

He said democracy has survived in India because of its traditional respect for dissent and tolerance for different points of view. Democracy without opposition and a periodic change of government is meaningless. There are several countries where democracy could not thrive, after they became independent from colonial rule, as they became victims of religious intolence and dictatorships. But in India, it was not the case, he averred.

Mr Advani, in his lecture, disagreed with the government for creating a minority welfare ministry.

''In the long run, no political party neither the minority community can gain from such initiatives,'' he said.

The Constituent Assembly was careful and had accorded reservations and minority status to SC/ST and not religious communities, he said.

He also felt that a Muslim count in the Army would lead to the government's downfall. ''We have a tradition of secularism and non-violence because of Hindu tolerance,'' he observed.

Mr Advani said that he admired the Indian voter who, he felt, was discerning.

''Although the voter may not be very educated yet the voter has maturity and an intuitive understanding which was expressed in 1977 against Emergency and Ms Gandhi was voted out and Jan Sangh came to power'', he added.

UNI DWN SSS YA KP2324

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