NEW DELHI (TIP): On a day when Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi took on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his Independence Day speech, senior BJP leader L K Advani struck an optimistic note, saying “India has unlimited potential for the future”. In his address after hoisting the national flag at his residence, Advani said, “This past decade, which, as the prime minister said today, will get over in 2014.
He has enumerated the achievements and the shortcomings of this decade. We should now be concerned about making the decade starting from 2014 an unprecedented one in India’s history. We should give it the best performance we can.” Striking a positive note, the BJP veteran said no one should be critical of each other on this occasion, rather each one should try to put in their best to ensure that India’s potential to shine in the 21st century is exploited.
Since Advani was speaking moments after Modi’s speech in Gujarat, there was speculation that he was being critical of the Gujarat CM. However, the BJP veteran is learnt to have been unaware of the contents of Modi’s speech. Since the function at Advani’s residence was soon after the Red Fort event, which he attended, he was not aware of what Modi had said about the PM in his speech, it is learnt.
Talking about a book on black money, which he is currently reading, Advani said, “The theme of the book is that though capitalism is good, if ethics and morality are set aside and people indulge in corruption, then it gives capitalism a bad name.” Leader of opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj took a dig at the PM for not mentioning the name of his immediate predecessor and BJP veteran Atal Bihari Vajpayee while lauding the work of earlier prime ministers.
“Dr Manmohan Singh referred to four prime ministers who contributed to the making of India — all from the Congress party. He forgot even Lal Bahadur Shastri there. The contribution of Morarji Desai and Atal Bihari Vajpayee has been no less. This partisan approach does not go with the solemnity of this great occasion,” Swaraj said on Twitter.
Later, BJP described the PM’s speech as “lacklustre and an outright disappointment” but hoped that the coming year — in which general elections are due — will usher in a new decade of growth. Party general secretary Rajiv Pratap Rudy described the PM’s speech as “an outright disappointment”. “The country had large expectations from the prime minister on his parting Independence Day speech which was full of hollow claims.
Country would have the PM to express his stand on issues of national security, especially in the backdrop of Pakistan attacking Indian soldiers and China intruding into Indian territory,” Rudy said. BJP president Rajnath Singh said if voted to power his party will tackle internal and external security challenges facing the country. He described the recent communal violence in Kishtwar as a “challenge to democracy”.