Ekta Yatra is challenge to separatists, not Govt: Advani

Ekta Yatra is challenge to separatists, not Govt: Advani

20 January 2011
The Daily Excelsior


NEW DELHI: Questioning Jammu and Kashmir Government's opposition to BJP's Ekta Yatra, senior party leader L K Advani today said the move was in no way challenging the State Government but separatists. 'Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has said the move will precipitate things in the Valley. It is a provocative step. It is provocative not for India but its enemies...We are not challenging the Government but the separatists,' he said. He was addressing the Ekta Yatra of BJP youth wing which reached here on way to Kashmir where party leaders plan to hoist national flag at historic Lal Chowk. Advani said it was the duty of the State Government to ensure that the national flag is hoisted at Lal Chowk successfully. 'The Government should help in hoisting the flag. It is the Government's duty to do so...It should not forget its duty,' he said. The BJP leader questioned the recent statement of Abdullah that Jammu and Kashmir had only accessed to India through a treaty and not merged with it on the lines of Hyderabad and Junagarh. 'I am surprised at the statement,' he said. Referring to the decision of Bharatiya Jan Sangh leader Shyama Prasad Mukherjee's decision not to seek 'permit' for entering Jammu and Kashmir, Advani said 'provocation was necessary for achievements...His decision ensured that permit raj ended in that State soon after his demise there. After that the President and the Supreme Court had jurisdiction over Jammu and Kashmir.' Advani said the plan of then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to introduce Article 370 in the Constitution to provide special status to Jammu and Kashmir was opposed by several Congress members before the draft went to the Constituent Assembly. In an apparent attack on the State Government for its objections to BJP's plan to hoist flag in Srinagar, he said under the earlier Flag Code it was a crime for the common man to waive or hoist national flag except on Republic Day and Independence Day. 'When I was the Deputy Prime Minister, I worked to change the Code so that the common man could also fly the flag...Today when I hand over the national flag to Anurag Thakur (BJYM president) to hoist it in Kashmir, I know I am not committing a crime (under the flag code),' he said. Advani cautioned the UPA not to do anything to pose hurdles in hoisting the national flag in Jammu and Kashmir on the Republic Day. He said the Government, if at all has anything, should cooperate and facilitate the flag hoisting mission undertaken by young patriotic group and stop the objections raised by separatist forces. 'If they pose any hurdles, the nation would not tolerate it,' the BJP leader declared. Taking a dig at Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Mr Advani said he 'pitied' him.'I have all the goodwill and respects for him and my grouse is only political. No Prime Minister of this country has been as weak as Dr Singh because he allowed the devaluation of high post he occupies,' he said. The situation in the country is very akin to the erstwhile era of the Soviet Union where the President of the Republic was insignificant because it was the Communist Party chief who called the shots, he said without taking any names. Advani said some within the BJP had raised questions when he had described Singh as a 'weak PM' in the run-up to the 2009 Lok Sabha elections but now 'everyone agrees' with this assessment. 'I respect him (Singh). But when I had said he seems to be a weak Prime Minister, people had said I was making a personal attack,' he said. 'It was in fact a political comment...Even some of my colleagues had said that he is a gentleman and why make such remarks. But today everyone agrees with me,' he said. Mounting a fresh attack on Dr Singh, Advani said he was feeling vindicated by the Supreme Court rap on Government on the issue of blackmoney stashed in foreign banks as it ran contrary to the Prime Minister's earlier stand that such allegations were 'irresponsible'. 'When I had raised the issue in 2009, the Prime Minister had dubbed my statements as an election stunt and irresponsible. But after the Supreme Court observations that Indian blackmoney stashed in foreign banks is a plunder of country's resources, the rejigged Cabinet in its first meeting today was forced to discuss the issue,' Advani said. He said from allocation of 2G spectrum to Commonwealth Games and Adarsh housing society scam, the UPA Government was facing a series of corruption charges. 'The government is passing through the worst crisis of its tenure,' he said adding that he felt pity on the Government for where 'it has reached'. The BJP Parliamentary Party Chairman also referred to the anguish expressed by the Australian Government on the CWG Organising Committee not paying dues to companies from that country which had worked during the mega sports event. 'T V channels were showing headlines like Kalmadi shames again,' he said in an apparent attack on the Government for taking the Games scam guilty to task. Earlier, amid loud cheers, BJP's 'Rashtriya Ekta Yatra', aiming to hoist the national flag at Kashmir's Lal Chowk, today recieved a hearty welcome in the Capital. Organised by the party's youth wing, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the fleet entered the city through Badarpur Border around 1300 hrs. Hundreds of BJP youth members and workers, under the leadership of BJYM president Anurag Thakur, on cars, motorcycles and scooters carrying the national flag shouted slogans of 'Lal Chowk Jayenge, Tiranga Lehrayenge'. Delhi BJP members with their chief Vijender Gupta, welcomed the yatra wholeheartedly. A party official said that more than 40 tonnes of flowers will be used all through the programme by various Zila presidents to greet the brigade. Calling today's procession as the biggest ever organised by the BJYM, he said, it comprises at least 40,000 two-wheelers. Covering at least 23 km today, the 'Tiranga Yatra' will pass through areas of Tughlaqabad, Shahadra, Mayur Vihar, Mehrauli, South Delhi and New Delhi districts. All the Delhi BJP Zila presidents will greet the members in their respective areas. The fleet will call it a day at Constitution Club on Rafi Marg where they will be addressed by senior party leader Lal Krishna Advani. Tomorrow, the yatra will move further via Delhi University, Mall Road, Lucknow Road and Wazirabad to reach Sir C V Raman Industrial Training Institute, Dheerpur where they will be again welcomed by party workers before moving towards Srinagar via NH-1 (GT Road) and Kondli bordering Haryana. Party leaders Ananth Kumar, Vani Tripathi, Ramesh Bidhuri, Dharmendra Pradhan and Nakul Bhardwaj also joined the league at Tughlaqabad. BJP president Nitin Gadkari launched the yatra in Kolkata on January 12 which will conclude on January 26 with the hoisting of the national flag at Lal Chowk in the Kashmir valley, despite reservations from the Jammu and Kashmir Government and opposition by separatists. The 14-day yatra will cover a distance of 3,037 kms and pass through 12 States. It will enter Jammu and Kashmir on the afternoon of January 24 at Pathankot. (Agencies)


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