The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Atal talks progress, crowd leaves

New Delhi, Nov. 20: The Prime Minister today stuck to his party’s stated stand of campaigning on a development plank by talking of Centre-state relations at a poll rally in Delhi.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee attacked Congress-ruled states for not providing support to the Centre. Greater cooperation, he said, was necessary to ensure faster growth. “If the Centre does not get the support of the states, problems cannot be solved. States should work together with the Centre for solving problems and aiding development.”

Vajpayee’s famed oratory, however, was not on show before the 3,000-odd crowd at Chirag Dilli park in south Delhi. People started filtering out of the venue before his 20-minute speech, lacking the customary wit and punch, was over.

All the four states — Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Delhi — that will go to the polls on December 1 are Congress-ruled. Vajpayee was specially critical of the last two.

“No government in the Centre has helped a state to the extent we did...,” he said, citing the NDA government’s financial support of around Rs 7,000 crore to the Rajasthan government.

The grain the Centre supplied to the states did not reach the needy as they were found lying at railway stations, he said.

Vajpayee attacked the Delhi government for not supporting the Centre on vehicular conversion to CNG.

He also sought to counter Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s charge on employment. “Ms Gandhi had challenged when I had said that our government has been able to fulfil the promise of providing employment opportunities to more than 1 crore people per year. She did it again today.”

Vajpayee said the figures he had submitted during Parliament’s last session spoke for themselves.

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