March 1998 News

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Vajpayee: We will Liberate POK

MUMBAI, 1st March 1998 (The Times of India): Should the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies come to power at the Centre, efforts would be made to get back the Pak-occupied Kashmir (PoK) by mutual talks, veteran BJP leader Atal Behari Vajpayee said on Wednesday.

The BJP leader said negotiations on Kashmir primarily involved the liberation of its one-third part which Pakistan had occupied by force. "We will liberate the PoK," he declared amid applause.

Mr Vajpayee was addressing a mammoth public meeting of the Shiv Sena-BJP combine at Shivaji Park. Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray also addressed the meeting which marked the end of the saffron alliance's poll campaign.

Stating that the BJP favoured cordial and friendly ties with Pakistan, the former minister for external affairs, however, warned that India would not tolerate "interference" in its internal matters. "A neighbour cannot be allowed to pry into our affairs," he said.

Describing the recent Coimbatore bomb explosions as a "warning bell", Mr Vajpayee referred to Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral's observation that Pakistan's Inter-State Intelligence (ISI) could have masterminded the multiple blasts.

Danger looms large on the nation, " he cautioned, referring to the ISI's activities in India.

BJP promises Jammu and Kashmir constitutional change

3rd March 1998 (BBC News): The President of the Bharatiya Janata party, L.K. Advani, has said that a BJP-led government would carry out its manifesto commitment to end the special constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir.

He told journalists in the northern city of Jammu that the state should be better integrated within the rest of India, and that displaced Hindus should be allowed to return to the Kashmir valley.

Mr Advani was visiting the Jammu region to campaign for the BJP parliamentary candidate but bad weather forced him to return to Delhi.

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