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'Ineffective' UPA damaging democracy: L K Advani

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

A day before his 40-day nation-wide Jan Chetna Yatra, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L K Advani launched a scathing attack on the UPA government, and blamed it for “damaging” the country’s democratic process. The ruling Congress-led coalition’s “lack of effective leadership” has resulted in people’s anger against the rulers, he claimed.

Blaming the dispensation for setting a decline in administrative and political ethics, Advani argued that no regime at the Centre had caused the kind of damage to Indian democracy that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his team has managed in the post-Independence history.

“So high is the people’s anger that they have become sceptical of the democratic process in the country,” added the 83-year-old politician.

The Congress attacked the yatra, saying that it was – much like the fast by Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s and yoga guru Baba Ramdev — being coordinated by the RSS. “The objective of this kind of a yatra,” party general secretary Digvijay Singh alleged, “is to fill their pockets and their coffers, is to extort chanda donations.

On his part, Advani said the country was experiencing a lack of development.

Even after 64 years of independence, if people were facing problems, then it is because of the absence of good governance and clean politics, he added.

While praising the civil society members, especially social activist Anna Hazare for his fast for a strong Lok Pal Bill and Ramdev for his fight against black money stashed abroad, Advani claimed that his role during the yatra would be to further raise these issues before the people and increase awareness on the ongoing corruption allegations against the government.

“The health of democracy depends on political parties and their cleanliness. Political parties should focus on good governance and clean politics,” Advani said. “My yatra will focus on black money stashed in foreign banks and how it can be brought back to Indian and used for development activities in the country.”

The BJP veteran also alleged that the government was not disclosing names of those who have stashed illegal money in foreign banks because it was protecting the names that can otherwise embarrass the ruling alliance. “The government must bring out a white paper on black money. It should also tell the people the kind of steps being taken to bring back black money. We have been raising this issue for long. We will again raise it the winter session of Parliament.”

The BJP leader also defended the two former members of Parliament who were arrested in the cash-for-vote scam. He claimed that both ex-MPs were whistle-blowers, and alleged that the government had won the crucial trust vote in 2008 by bribing parliamentarians. “The bribes enabled 19 MPs to cross-vote during the trust-vote. The government has lost all the right to survive.”

Advani will start his march from Bihar’s Sitabdiara tomorrow and would cover a distance of 7,600 km before it concludes in Delhi on November 20.

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First Published: Tue, October 11 2011. 00:19 IST