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Advani to travel across the country

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
Last updated on: June 21, 2009 20:36 IST
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Opposition leader L K Advani will travel across the country in an apparent move to boost the sagging morale of the party leaders and workers alike after the poll drubbing.

Talking at a press conference in New Delhi, party leader M Venkaiah Naidu said, "Advaniji is now taking rest. But soon he will travel to various parts of India to meet party leaders and workers."

Asked if it would be yet another Rath Yatra, Naidu said he had taken note of the suggestion and the same would be conveyed to Advaniji.

He denied that those who spoke at the two-day national executive had targeted senior leader Arun Jaitley.

"Our party president owned up the moral responsibility for the defeat. We all went to Rajnathji and expressed our views that the responsibility should be collective in victory of defeat and no individual should be made the target," Naidu explained.

Arun Shourie, a former minister in the Atal Bihari government had openly accused Jaitley of planting stories against individuals -- a view shared by Maneka Gandhi whose main grudge was her son had been singled out.

Shourie refused to confirm the names of the six journalists who according to him were running the show in the BJP.
"I am not speaking to anyone, including friends," he told this correspondent, while shaking hands.

Naidu wanted to know why the media took sides while reporting.

"In 1999, the Congress got 114 and this time we have got 116, particularly when our presence in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand is not so strong. With 116 and emerging at the second largest party the media headlines talked of BJP's rout where as when Congress lost and got 114 seats not a word appeared in the media. We have done well in the eight states ruled by us and our vote percentage has gone up. The party is now gearing up for Assembly elections in Maharashtra, Haryana, Arunachal Pradesh and we demand that the elections should be held in Jharkhand as well. In politics, victory and defeat are part and parcel of the system.

"We failed because we failed in communicating our programmes and policies. Advaniji felt that there should be a national debate on secularism and pesudo-secularism. The politics is now becoming bi-polar,' he said.

Naidu did not answer any questions on Varun Gandhi.

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi