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Sunday, 9 October 2011

Focus on fight against graft, Arun Jaitley tells cadre


NEW DELHI: Gearing up for L K Advani's Jan Chetna Yatra that will begin from Sitabdiara in Bihar on October 11, BJP on Friday asked its cadre to ensure that it makes the most of the public mood against "corruption in government" and focus on setting the agenda on "good and clean governance".

"The political agenda in this country has converged to good governance... today, people set their own agenda," Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said, and cited the Anna Hazare and Ramdev fasts as examples in which people had gathered in support on their own. He was driving home the point that BJP needs to build its campaign against the government on the basis of this mood.

Jaitley was addressing representatives of state units at a workshop held here to ensure that BJP does not speak in different voices on various issues causing embarrassment to the party as well as diverting the focus from the purpose of the yatra.

Emphasising the need for "discipline" in the party during the yatra, he said, "We do not want our local leaders to speak a different language during the yatra. No personal opinion should be expressed. They should speak only on the issues which are on the agenda of the yatra."

He asked the state office-bearers who attended the workshop to ensure that those local leaders who speak at rallies where the yatra passes through do not deviate from the issues and say something that creates a controversy. "What local leaders say is also important. Anybody should not be allowed to speak (from a public platform) without knowing what he will say," he said.

This warning comes in the backdrop of occasions when the party has had to face embarrassment because even senior leaders have spoken out on issues against the party line.

Jaitley asked the party cadre, which will handle media affairs at different places during the 38-day yatra across 23 states and four Union Territories, not to be unsettled by press criticism during the yatra. "We do not have to set aside our agenda and have to work with a single-minded focus," Jaitley said, adding that criticism of the programme from some sections was unavoidable.

Speaking on issues to be raised during the yatra and why Advani decided to undertake this exercise, he said, "Not just the 2G spectrum and cash-for-vote scams but also the issues of black money stashed abroad and the need for electoral reforms will be highlighted."

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