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Lalu returns graft salvo with arrest recall

Patna, Oct. 11: L.K. Advani chose the graft salvo to pin the UPA government as he launched his sixth rath yatra today, while RJD chief Lalu Prasad tried to remind the BJP patriarch of his arrest on a similar journey but for a different mission two decades ago.

The venue — Gandhi Maidan — where Advani addressed a meeting was just a stone’s throw from JP Golambar from where Lalu kicked off the RJD’s march to Raj Bhavan.

Advani, who reached Gandhi Maidan around five hours behind schedule, said over Rs 70 lakh crore were stashed away in foreign banks and appealed to people to exert pressure on the UPA to bring back the black money to the country.

“We will not tolerate corruption any further,” Advani said, as he urged the people to take a stand against corruption. He added that corruption has increased manifold during the tenure of the UPA-II. “But they (the government) keep on saying that we are progressing by leaps and bounds,” he said.

Advani defended the three BJP MPs who had displayed wads of notes in Parliament during the cash-for-vote scam. “The three had done a great service to the country by exposing the money power used for obtaining a majority in the House,” he said.

Without taking Lalu’s name, Advani said some people had said they would oppose the rath yatra. “We have not seen any protests throughout the 100-km yatra from Sitab Diara to Patna. What we saw is a huge turnout of people,” he added.

Lalu, on the other hand, took a dig at chief minister Nitish Kumar for announcing Advani’s Jan Chetna Yatra from Sitab Diara, the birthplace of Loknayak Jaya Prakash Narayan.

He added: “Nitsh has insulted the land of JP by flagging off Advani’s yatra from the Loknayak’s birthplace. I was the person who arrested Advani during my tenure and see what Nitish is doing. I never allowed communal forces to enter my state, but it is unfortunate that the present government has spent around Rs 1 crore from the state coffers to accord Advani a grand welcome.”

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