Advani for US-type election debates


Staff member
Bhagalpur October 30:

Former deputy Prime Minister L K Advani, who addressed several poll meetings at Bhagalpur and Gaya, suggested US-type debates in India that would do away with the need for individual candidates hosting rallies. He was speaking at an election meeting at Zila School ground, Bhagalpur.

The veteran leader felt the Election Commission should organize a common meeting where candidates and canvassing leaders can debate various issues affecting the electorate. "It will help people judge candidates and parties they represent," said Advani, adding that it would also cut down on poll expenditure.

Then taking pot-shots at AICC president Sonia Gandhi, he said the Congress leader and her advisers should have done their homework before coming to Bihar. "The party was in league with the RJD in the state before 2005 and is responsible for the mess here," said Advani. Appreciating the good work of chief minister Nitish Kumar, he said progress is visible everywhere. "People appreciate development work in fields of infrastructure and health, as also an improved law and order situation," said Advani.

Continuing with his praise for Nitish Kumar at Gaya, he said he had realised his potential way back in the Nineties when the BJP and JD(U) had entered into a poll alliance. NDA candidates in Bhagalpur district are BJP's Ashwini Chowbey (Bhagalpur), Aman Kumar (Pirpainty) and Kumar Shailendra (Bihpur); while JD(U) candidates are Narendra Kumar Neeraj (Gopalpur), Kehkashan Parveen (Kahalgaon), Ajay Kumar Mandal (Nathnagar) and Subodh Rai (Sultanganj).

In Gaya, too, his diatribe was directed at the Congress. Taking Gayaites down memory lane to the dark days of Emergency, Advani blamed the Congress for Bihar's backwardness. He reminded the gathering how late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had gagged the press following the Allahabad high court judgement which unseated her from the Lok Sabha in June 1975.

He held the Congress responsible for lending wings to Lalu and Rabri for the better part of their term as chief ministers. Upset over the denial of opportunity to the BJP Wazirganj candidate, his supporters indulged in slogan shouting during the initial stages of Advani's address. The BJP leader exhorted the people to vote for NDA candidates in Gaya, Bodh Gaya, Wazirganj and Belaganj, constituencies going to the polls on November 9.

Claiming that there was no contest in Bihar as far as the NDA was concerned, he hoped the electorate would give it a two-thirds majority. BJP general secretary and party's chief spokesperson, Ravi Shankar Prasad, reminded the electorate that the law and order situation in the state had vastly improved because of the CM's firm handling and conviction of no less than 55,000 criminals in the past five years.