20 Feb 2002
VARANASI, FEB. 19. The Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, today claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party would win the elections to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly even if the Muslim vote went against it.
Addressing a public meeting here, Mr. Vajpayee assailed the opposition parties which had ``appealed to the Muslims not to vote for the BJP,'' and said his party had not discriminated against the minority community. The Muslims had been treated equally by the NDA Government at the Centre and in all the BJP-run States.
Mr. Vajpayee said it was not proper for the Muslims to adopt an ``anti-BJP stance'' and claimed that the party would win the elections even if they voted against it.
Appealing to the electorate to give a ``clear mandate'' to the BJP-led coalition in the State, he said the Rajnath Singh Government had performed well despite a fractured verdict. ``It is necessary to have the same party's Governments at the Centre and the States to ensure a sustained development.''
Mr. Vajpayee took a dig at the Samajwadi Party when he asked the SP leadership to explain socialism, which had not succeeded anywhere in the world, including Russia. ``Any talk of socialism is out of sync with the changing times, which is governed by the open market economy.''
Charging the opposition with entertaining ``hopes'' of toppling the NDA Government once the results of the Assembly elections in Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur and Punjab were out, he said it was only wishful thinking.
- PTI, UNI