In his first election rally in Delhi before the Lok Sabha polls at Chandni Chowk on Friday, veteran BJP leader L K Advani invoked former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee repeatedly and his “adarsh raj” while soliciting votes for Delhi BJP chief and the party’s candidate from the constituency, Harsh Vardhan.
Towards the very end of his speech, Advani made a brief mention of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, soliciting election of “Dr Vardhan and over 300 BJP leaders under the leadership of Narendra Modi”.
In East Delhi’s Shakarpur, where he addressed his second rally on Friday, Advani hailed Harsh Vardhan’s achievements in polio eradication and asked people to vote for the party’s candidate Maheish Girri. There, he did not even mention Modi once.
Advani was speaking at Bara Toota Chowk, before a banner that had images of himself, Modi and Harsh Vardhan.
He said, “This country has seen 34 prime ministers since Independence, very few of them have completed their terms. But I can proudly say that there has been only one prime minister, Shri Vajpayee and several chief ministers from the BJP who have done such exemplary work that today I seek votes on the basis of their work,”Advani said. “For six years, we have also had the good fortune of seeing a prime minister like Vajpayeeji… jinke tehat adarsh raj kaisa ho sakta hai yeh bhi anubhav kiya (under whom we witnessed what ideal governance is like),” he said.
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Advani also made a reference to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh for creating disciplined leaders, who could fulfil “my dream of Bharat nirman”.
“The kind of disciplined people they have created, if you give us three people from every state… toh mere man mein jo kalpana hai ek naye Bharat nirman ki, who main pura kar paunga (I will be able to fulfil my vision of the nation’s development),” he said.
Hailing Harsh Vardhan as a “national leader”, Advani said Harsh Vardhan did not need to give “explanations” like having been born in Turqman Gate to contest elections from Chandni Chowk.
“I want to congratulate you all since you will choose such a representative from your constituency, who not just rid the nation of polio but, with the other 300 MPs that you will choose under the leadership of Narendra Modi, will rid this country of maladies like illiteracy, unemployment and poverty,”he said.
Other leaders of the BJP including Harsh Vardhan credited Modi for “being a symbol of the aspirations of the youth”. Former MP from Madhya Pradesh Arif Beg spoke at the rally.
“The Congress is trying to spread rumours by saying Muslims are scared of Modi becoming PM. I want to tell them Muslims are only scared of Allah. Congress has only followed the diktat of the British, not of revolutionaries who sacrificed their lives in the freedom struggle. The BJP will give us a government where Hindus and Muslims can eat from the same plate,” Beg said.
At Shakarpur in East Delhi, campaigning for BJP’s candidate Maheish Girri, Advani made references to religious leaders and their contribution to the struggle for Independence.
“Sri Sri Ravi Shanker always visits me when I am in Delhi and he introduced me to Mahesih Girri, the reason why I am here. Our independence was not based on politics, but the backing of great religious leaders,” Advani said.