The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Advani attacks, Karunanidhi defends
- Foreign origin law threat

Ludhiana, March 25:L .K. Advani today said the National Democratic Alliance would consider introducing a law to bar people of foreign origin from high constitutional posts if returned to power.

Speaking to The Telegraph during his Bharat Uday yatra, the deputy Prime Minister said NDA convener George Fernandes and BJP chief M. Venkaiah Naidu favour such a law.

“There is near-unanimity over the issue in the country and the NDA and also within many other parties. A specific law will be considered. We will draft it when the right time comes. It may perhaps be there even in the manifesto, which is likely to be released some time next month,” Advani said.

He said he was “hopeful” of the outcome of his second round of talks with the Hurriyat Conference, starting on Saturday. “A beginning has been made. I had promised them that I would meet them in the last week of March and I am doing exactly that. I will be in Delhi for one day after the first leg of my yatra only to meet them. In my first round with them, I have been able to remove doubts and misgivings. Despite their hot and cold attitude, I am very optimistic about the talks,” Advani said.

But he would not comment on the Hurriyat claim that there was no change in the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

The deputy Prime Minister said he wished to take his yatra to Jammu but time constraints had forced him to end it in Amritsar. “It is a question of logistics and dates. I also have to file my nomination papers.”

Advani denied India was under any pressure from the US over Kashmir. “It is only our adversaries who are making a hue and cry over the US pressurising us. We opposed the Iraq war and did not send our soldiers to Baghdad. After 9/11, the US made some statements regarding terrorism. We had certain expectations from them, which we felt were not forthcoming. The US adopted some double standards and our response is known to everyone. We did not budge an inch from what we believe was correct. We have never, nor will buckle under US pressure,” he said.

The deputy Prime Minister said the ongoing cricket series between India and Pakistan was important for normalising bilateral relations. “(Pakistan President Pervez) Musharraf’s statement that he will not allow terrorists to use his country is very important to us,” he added.

Advani denied the BJP had been forced to put issues like the Ram temple on the backburner in order to keep its allies together. “What is the compromise' The coalition dharma does not approve of any compromise. All parties in the NDA work according to an agreed set of principles and we are doing exactly that,” he said.

The senior BJP leader denied he had appealed to the electorate to vote for the Congress instead of regional parties. “The polls are being contested between the Congress and its allies on the one hand and the BJP and its allies on the other. How can I ask people to vote for the Congress'” he said.

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