The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Advani sees return of 1952

Puri, April 14: Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani today ended his 33-day roadshow in the temple town, prophesying a win for the BJP-led alliance and comparing the situation to 1952 when Jawaharlal Nehru’s victory was a foregone conclusion.

At the end of his whistle-stop tour across the country that started on a breezy noon in Kanyakumari on March 10, the 77-year-old leader said good governance provided by Atal Bihari Vajpayee has put victory beyond doubt.

“Vajpayee of 2004 is more popular than Vajpayee of 1999. Judging from the warm and enthusiastic way in which the yatra was greeted, I am convinced that the election would spring a few surprises and give Vajpayee a decisive mandate for a third term,” Advani said at a meeting held very near the Jagannath temple.

Advani said his yatra has succeeded in projecting development, good governance and leadership as the main issues in the coming elections.

“We won the Assembly elections of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan on the plank of bijli, sadak and pani (electricity, roads and water). The governments in future would be under pressure to perform as the urge for development and good governance would come from the people themselves,” he told reporters in the colliery town of Talcher early this morning.

“Till some years ago, there were helplessness and cynicism all around. But after my yatra, I have come to experience the changes sweeping the country in the last six years,” he said here after travelling 8,540 km from the country’s southernmost tip to Amritsar and then from Porbandar to Puri. In his fourth yatra of his political career, Advani covered 128 Lok Sabha constituencies.

Advani, however, did not make any commitment on giving special category status to Orissa, as demanded by the BJP-Biju Janata Dal government, and brushed aside the demand for a separate Koshal state.

He refused to be apologetic about Hindutva, saying ideologies are intended to promote people’s welfare.

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