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archive: My case is in court of people: PM

My case is in court of people: PM

Rajiv Deshpande / Bellary
The Pioneer
September 2, 1999


    Title: My case is in court of people: PM
    Author: Rajiv Deshpande / Bellary
    Publication: The Pioneer
    Date: September 2, 1999
    
    Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee struck a responsive chord here
    when he said he was appearing in the "court of the people" to seek a
    fitting reply to the Congress' hunger for power which had repeatedly
    forced political instability and costly general elections upon the
    nation.
    
    Accompanied by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Mr
    Vajpayee arrived here to a rousing welcome at municipal grounds,
    covered with BJP flags and TDP's striking yellow standing out in
    pockets. Mr Naidu wore a yellow shirt.
    
    It seemed like a sea of raised hands with signs of "V" for victory,
    when over 35,000 people, jammed shoulder to shoulder, greeted Mr
    Vajpayee, Mr Naidu and the BJP candidate Sushma Swaraj. The police had
    a difficult time managing the crowd that surged against barricades.
    The Prime Minister's speech, punctuated by frequent cheering and
    clapping though he did not offer many oratorial flourishes, focused on
    criticising Congress for being a habitual usurper of power and unable
    to reconcile to a defeat at the hustings.
    
    "In three years, there have been three elections. I have brought my
    case to the court of the people. The Congress steadily lost power in
    States before losing it at the Centre, that is the root of the
    problem," he said. Responding to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's
    criticism of the Government on Kargil, Mr Vajpayee said that in the
    past, whether in victory or defeat, India had lost its territory. "Not
    only have we removed the aggressors, not even one inch land was lost
    to the enemy," he told the cheering crowd.
    
    Reflecting on history, the Prime Minister reminded the Bellary people
    of the Vijayanagar empire which was founded by Harihar and Bukka as a
    bulwork against foreign aggression. "The time has come for Bellary to
    relive its glorions past and elect Sushma Swaraj as its MP," he said.
    Taking a sideswipe at Ms Gandhi for filling her nomination under the
    "cover of darkness", he said, "In democracy there should be no place
    or need for subterfuge. After all, she is free to file from any place
    she chooses." Her sudden and secretive movements created a security
    risk for the Government, he added.
    
    Mr Vajpayee said the opposition to Ms Gandhi's prime ministerial
    candiature emerged from within the Congress family. "The questions
    raised by Sharad Pawar, PA Sangma and Tariq Anwar still need to be
    answered," he said. The Prime Minister made an oblique refernece to Ms
    Gandhi's "haste" in aspiring for the nation's top job. "I have done
    the job of being in opposition for 40 years. I never opposed just for
    sake of opposing... I have climbed the steps of politics one by one
    and am today standing before you," he said.
    
    Urging the people to vote Ms Swaraj, he said though the constituency
    had faithfully elected a Congress candidate it must keep in mind the
    party's work for the region. "There is a wealth of minerals and the
    people are hard working, but still this part of Karnataka wears a
    defeated look," he said.
    
    Referring to Ms Swaraj's fluency in Kannada, Mr Vajpayee wondered if
    Bellary would allow her to return to New Delhi. "I am sure she will,
    and that too as your MP. Her Kannada has left me awe struck," he said
    setting off a twitter in the crowd.
    
    Addressing the rally briefly, Mr Naidu appealed people to vote for Ms
    Swaraj. He highlighted the "clock and dagger" aspects of the Congress
    chief's choice of Bellary. "No one knew where she was headed. She
    reached Hyderabad and then some said it could be Cuddapah. Her own
    people said she was going to Chennai, but she arrived in Bellary.
    
    The TDP leader was lustily cheered by his supporters as he went on to
    highlight the Congress' "sins". "The Congress begins to fight and fret
    once out of power, and refuses to wait for a popular mandate," he
    said.
    
    Ms Swaraj appears to be maintainign her popularity here and has added
    new lines to her Kannada script. The crowd was more than receptive to
    her.
    
    Mr Vajpayee's plea that "as daughter's are blessed by their parents in
    the Shravan month, she is seeking a vote from Bellary" brought forth a
    resounding affirmative.
    



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