The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Advani cites Pak model for Ayodhya

Hyderabad, Jan. 13: Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani today said the Ayodhya issue could be resolved with a “win- win strategy”, which helped achieve a breakthrough in India-Pakistan relations.

Efforts by prominent personalities to break the ice were at a critical stage, he added. The Dalai Lama last week called for a resolution of the Ayodhya row through “mutual trust, mutual faith and mutual respect”. Advani had endorsed the sentiments, describing the Dalai Lama as “our revered guest” and “a living symbol of religious harmony and tolerance”.

RSS leaders will for the first time visit the headquarters of the Jamiat-e-Ulema Hind in New Delhi tomorrow to hold talks with two of its representatives, Maulana Niaz Farooqui and Maulana Abdul Hamid Noomani. Jamiat sources said Ayodhya would figure in the discussions.

The BJP’s resolve on Ayodhya, made public at its Palampur meeting in 1989, had its inspiration in the strategy followed by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad for ressurection of Somnath temple, he said today.

With elections knocking on the door, Advani asked party workers to spread out and publicise the NDA’s achievements. Party president M. Venkaiah Naidu, who also addressed the gathering of the party’s state functionaries, unveiled a campaign calendar packed with mass-contact programmes. The schedule includes 116 public meetings before elections are notified.

A 10-member team of senior leaders, led by Advani, would criss-cross the country in the month-long programme starting January 23, christened the Atal Sandesh Yatra. The deputy Prime Minister would address 75 public meetings.

This would be followed by an intensive campaign in which party cadre would take out “yatras” with the aim of “reaching out to every village, walking every street, knocking on every door and talking to every voter”, Naidu said. He asked party leaders to “convert the poll campaign into people’s campaign”.

Advani urged party colleagues to be proud of the BJP. During its five-year rule, the BJP had turned its vision of smaller states, electoral reforms and dual citizenship for NRIs into reality, he said. ( )

“We are very consistent with our policies. Even the campaign for Ram Mandir, the nuclear programme of India and our vision for employment generation have been propagated not just today but over last two decades.”

Naidu said the BJP would push for the “election of an Indian” as Prime Minister.

Before Independence, those associated with the Congress were proud of their relationship with the party. “The name of Congress, the khadi, the white cap associated with it, were things that evoked respect. Those active in Congress at that time used to believe they were making history,” he said.

“As important activists of BJP today, do we have the same feeling that we are also making history' We have not been fully able to recognise the import of our role properly,” Advani said.

At a media meet afterwards, Naidu appealed for the NDA’s return to power with a campaign line — “Why apply a brake when the country is moving forward under Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime'” He pointed out that while the BJP had proved it could run a coalition government, the Congress had “few partners”.

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