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BJP treats Muslims as humans not votes - The Times of India

Ramu Bhagwat ()
January 15, 1998

Title: BJP treats Muslims as humans not votes
Author: Ramu Bhagwat
Publication: The Times of India
Date: January 15, 1998

A day after the Bharatiya Janata Party released the first fist of
202 candidates for the Lok Sabha elections, its prime ministerial
candidate Atal Behari Vajpayee launched the party's campaign in
this town nestled in the Satpura ranges of Madhya Pradesh.

What is unique about this constituency where former MP chief
minister Sunderlal Patwa has been renominated is that the people
are electing their representative to the Lok Sabha for the third
time within 18 months. Barely 11 months ago, in a bye-election,
Mr Patwa stormed the strongest Congress bastion to defeat former
Union minister Kamal Nath.

It was a typically pre-Seshan style of election meeting where
more than 50,000 people, predominantly tribals, packed the Shukla
grounds here to hear Mr Vajpayee.

Mr Vajpayee, described by party leaders as former as well as the
future prime minister, accompanied by Mr Patwa and former
Congress leader Aslam Sher Khan, landed at Chhindwara by a
special plane.

Addressing the huge crowd, Mr Vajpayee said the Congress is now
in the dock and owes an explanation to the country for thrusting
on it an election which would incur Rs 800 crore expenditure.
"The Congress withdrew its support to Mr Gowda because he set up
inquiry against Congress leaders. So it renewed its support to
the UF government with a new prime minister whose fate was again
sealed by the 'outside supporters' of the 13-party coalition." He
said the country could ill-afford to have such experiments
because an unstable government halted the progress of the nation.

"During the last 18 months, industrial production is on the
decline, exports have nosedived, rupee has tumbled, gold prices
are falling by the day and external debts burden has mounted
phenomenally," Mr Vajpayee said.

Welcoming Mr Aslam Sher Khan to the party, the former prime
minister said: Muslim is looked at as a vote by every party
except the BJP which sees them humans."

Taking the Congress-ruled M.P. government to task fix the police
firing at Multai in Betul on Monday in which seven people were
killed, he said when poor starving farmers seek relief they
should be dealt with sympathetically. "No amount of compensation
or any enquiry could bring back the dead," he said, criticising
the state government for failures to provide relief to farmers.

"If the BJP is elected to power at the Centre, we would implement
crop and cattle insurance schemes to protect the farmers," Mr
Vajpayee announced.

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