The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Advani sees Lashkar hand

Lucknow, Sept. 28: The militant attack on the Swaminarayan temple and the threat of cross-border terrorism seemed to preoccupy deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani as he shared the stage with Bahujan Samaj Party leaders Kanshi Ram and Mayavati in Lucknow today.

At a rally organised by the BSP at the sprawling Jail grounds — now called Ambedkar Maidan — Advani blamed the Lashkar-e-Toiba for the attack on the temple in Gandhinagar and trained his guns on Pakistan for sponsoring cross-border terrorism.

Earlier, during the BJP state executive meeting, Advani said: “The use of AK 47s and hand grenades and carrying of dry-fruits indicates that the Lashkar-e-Toiba was behind the attack.” The deputy Prime Minister said, though investigations into the attack were going on, it was probable that the Lashkar had planned to take about 500 devotees hostage to strike a big deal.

Advani lauded the Gujarat police and other security personnel for foiling the plan of the terrorists. He praised the Gujarat government for maintaining communal peace after the attack.

The deputy Prime Minister said the smooth first phase of elections in Jammu and Kashmir was a victory for India and has also removed the misconception that people of the state want to go with Pakistan.

The BJP leader also advised his party colleagues not to fall for the lure of Cabinet berths and party posts. The influence the party has should not be misused, he said.

“Our claim that the BJP is different from other parties puts a challenge before us. We have to prove that not only the party but also the government is different,” he said.

At the rally, Advani justified the BJP’s coalition with the BSP saying it was necessary to form the government and end the deadlock. The BJP would go in for such governments, but without compromising on basic principles and commitments, he added.

The venue was packed to capacity with people carrying the BSP’s blue flag arriving since yesterday itself. But the absence of Muslims was a clear warning signal to BSP leaders indicating that their bonhomie with those accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case has not gone well with the minority community.

The leaders of the two parties, however, seemed to have reached a tacit understanding to avoid referring to the Ayodhya issue at the rally.

Chief minister Mayavati did not even once explain her government’s refusal to issue a fresh notification in the Babri Masjid demolition case against Advani and others BJP leaders. She only reiterated her government’s commitment to uphold the law of the land and provide security to religious places of all communities.

Kanshi Ram, on the other hand, talked about the party’s plans for the future and said the BSP would soon dictate the choice of Prime Minister. The only salvo fired by the two BSP leaders was at Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, who observed “Thu Thu Diwas” (Condemnation Day) by holding protest rallies in Lucknow and other parts of Uttar Pradesh.

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