The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BJP lobs quit call back at Congress

Ahmedabad, June 8: BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu today ridiculed the Congress demand for .K. Advani’s resignation.

Asserting “there is no question of the deputy Prime Minister resigning”, Naidu dismissed the Congress’s demand as “absurd and meaningless’’ because the credentials of the accusers were not known.

Five of the 49 accused in the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid yesterday alleged that they pulled down the mosque on the instigation of Advani and other senior BJP leaders.

Naidu questioned the credibility of the five accused and demanded verification of their credentials in court. If they had any evidence against Advani, they should have told the court, not the media, he said.

“Why did they keep quiet for 10 years' What evidence do they have' If they had such important information, why did they not inform the court and the commission probing the demolition'’’ he asked.

According to Naidu, the five kar sevaks could have made the allegations outside the special CBI court in Lucknow at somebody’s behest to “malign Advani and (the) other leaders against whom there is no evidence’’.

He took the opportunity to hold up a mirror to the Congress and said the party should do some “soul searching”.

Naidu pinned down the Congress by listing the FIR lodged against Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi in the recent murder of a Nationalist Congress Party leader, a Congress MP’s demand for a CBI inquiry and the Rajasthan home minister’s troubles over the murder of his servant. “Should not the Congress ask them to step down'” he asked.

Naidu also threw a challenge at Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, calling for a national debate on the BJP’s five-year performance compared with the Congress’s 47 years during which it “ruled and ruined the country’’.

He cited an opinion poll by a newspaper in election-bound Madhya Pradesh, which showed the Congress base was dwindling. “BJP ka sweep and Congress ka weep (The BJP will sweep the poll, making the Congress weep),” Naidu said.

He was referring to his party’s anticipated performance in the poll in four Congress-ruled states later this year. “It is our internal assessment, which has been proved by the opinion poll.”

Apart from wresting Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh from the Congress, the party hopes to achieve a breakthrough in Mizoram, also going to poll this year. The BJP, Naidu said, will make the Congress’ non-performance an issue in the Assembly poll.

CPM for Advani ouster

The CPM today demanded the resignation of Advani and human resources development minister Murli Manohar Joshi, says our staff reporter. “(The) statement given by five of the 49 accused has confirmed our view and Advani should quit immediately,” CPM leader Sitaram Yechuri said.

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