The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Advani vow on power reform

Hyderabad, Jan. 5: Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani today conceded that all national political parties, including the BJP, had followed double standards in power reforms and promised to work with “utmost seriousness” towards achieving a national consensus on the issue.

The tendency among parties to resist power sector reforms wherever they are in the Opposition must be stopped, he added.

Addressing the ninth CII partnership summit, he described the power sector as a critical development bottleneck. “We have initiated reforms in this sector but the desired results are too slow in coming,” he said.

Advani said the government wanted to extend the scope of reforms to “areas like administrative, judicial and other areas of governance needed to enable our businesses to grow faster and in a hassle-free environment”.

He told the 1,000 delegates from 20 countries that there was a steady expansion of consensus on reforms, even in Calcutta where the language of reforms was being spoken in public and in private. “The NDA was not keen to imitate any particular model of reforms but we will be guided by our national interest and fair play,” Advani said.

Slamming Pakistan, he said: “Today, it is not a secret any more as to where the epicentre of international terrorism has shifted.” He urged the western nations to remain faithful to their own affirmation of “not to support or tolerate states that are known to shelter, finance, aid and instigate terrorist organisations that have openly declared India as their target”.

Advani also urged businessmen to invest in Gujarat, which has been a victim of many calamities. “I would like everyone to know that what happened in Gujarat was most unfortunate, but it was an aberration. It is now firmly behind us.”

Punjab repeat pledge

Advani said the government was determined to stamp out miltancy in Jammu and Kashmir and the Punjab experience of successfully rooting out terrorism would be repeated there. “People ask me if it is possible for Jammu and Kashmir to return to normality. We shall see that terrorism will end in Kashmir.”

Comparing the polls in Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan’s, he said the world had seen the contrast. Unlike in Pakistan, no party or leader in India (Kashmir) was threatened with “dire consequences” if he did not fall in line, he said in a veiled reference to Imran Khan’s statement.

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