Sitabdiara/Chapra, Oct 11: Starting his 38-day Jan Chetna Yatra to take on the UPA Government on issues of corruption and blackmoney, BJP leader L K Advani today said people have “lost faith” in it and demanded “not just for change in leadership but also a change in the system”.
“What has happened during the last one year in the country has forced people to lose faith.... They have lost faith in the leadership of the government.... Cases of corruption are surfacing one by one,” Advani said while addressing public meetings at Sitabdiara and Chapra, where the rath yatra of the 84-year-old BJP leader was flagged off by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at the Airport Ground.
“Corruption should end in this country. There should not just be a change of leadership but also a change in the system,” said the BJP leader, whose decision to embark on his sixth rath yatra has been seen as an attempt to be in the reckoning for becoming BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate.
He said there is growing anger and resentment among people against leaders coming to power only to mint money by indulging in corruption.
“Enough is enough.... the country will not tolerate it,” he said.
Addressing the rally at Chhapra, Kumar said that Advani's rally targeted corruption “but there were some people who tried to see what is not there.
“How does speaking against corruption become communal?,” Kumar, whose JD(U) is a key NDA partner, said, attacking critics of the yatra.
Advani told the gathering that the inspiration for this yatra had come from the work carried out by Jayprakash Narayan and lauded the veteran socialist saying he had brought all non-Congress parties - other than the communists - together against the “corrupt” Congress government in the 1970s. Advani also emphasised that the yatra is aimed at good governance and clean politics as also the issues of Lokpal and for bringing back blackmoney stashed away abroad.
“The success of all the past movements have been in creating awareness among people,” Advani said and pointed out that both the freedom struggle and the Jayprakash movement had a similar aim of educating people about the atrocities of the British and the “corruption in Congress regime” respectively.
The yatra will pass through 23 states and four Union territories and cover around 7,600 km in nearly 100 districts across the country. Advani will visit the Northeast, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Jammu, Gujarat, the southern states as well as the poll-bound states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Goa.
Praising Nitish Kumar for bringing about a sea-change in the state since the NDA government came to power in 2005, the BJP leader said, “Bihar presents a good example where Nitish Kumar is running the government with full transparency and honesty.... He is an able and effective administrator.”
“I had only once requested him to flag-off the yatra and he had readily agreed,” Advani said.
In his speech, Kumar welcomed Advani for choosing Jayprakash Narayan's birthplace and his birth anniversary for starting his yatra against corruption.
He recalled that the JP movement had also started in Bihar and said nobody had then thought that the Congress will be voted out of power.
“We don't promise support only by words but also by deeds,” he said.
Advani lauded Leaders of Opposition Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley for effectively taking on the UPA government in Parliament not only on corruption but also on other issues. Addressing the meeting in Chapra, Swaraj said the people had lost confidence in political leaders because of corruption.
Advani recalled that his previous yatra had been stopped by the then Chief Minister Lalu Prasad. “It was in Samastipur....The government of that time had sent to Mansaur. “However this time the chief minister of the state has come has come to give my yatra the green signal,” he said.
Advani said, “Whether corruption would be eradicated or not through this yatra depended on how responsible those who wield power are”.
“When the fallen ethical standard reflect in those at the top, then its effect is also at its maximum,” the BJP leader said, adding politicians have to be extra careful about their conduct.
Soon after his arrival from Patna by a chopper, Advani, along with Nitish Kumar, his deputy S K Modi, Swaraj and Jaitley visited the ancestral house of late Jayaprakash Narayan and garlanded his statue at Sitab Diara.
Advani said in Sitabdiara that he was astonished by the fact that electricity reached the village, the birth place of JP, only in 2011 despite India getting its freedom in 1947. This was only because of the initiative of the NDA government led by Nitish Kumar in Bihar, he emphasised.
Advani said he knew Nitish as he had worked with him for six years when the NDA, led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was in power.
“The day Nitish took over the reins of the state, I became confident that there will be change.... now he has brought a big difference to the situation as compared to 2005,” he said and lambasted the erstwhile Lalu-Rabri government for the backwardness of the state.
He said till 1997 the condition of roads in the state was very poor Giving details of the steps taken by his government to stamp out corruption, Kumar said the state government had enacted the Bihar Special Court Act, 2009 with the provisions of confiscation of properties of corrupt public servants.
He also expressed happiness over the state adopting initiatives taken by his government to ensure declaration of properties of chief minister, deputy chief minister, ministers and other public servants to place the details on the government websites.
“Even the UPA government at the Centre has followed suit and declared details of assets of ministers,” he said. Speaking on the occasion, Jan Chetna Yatra Convenor Ananth Kumar said after JP, it was the second ‘Sampoorna Kranti' (Total Revolution) being spearheaded by Advani to free the country from corruption.
Advani's rath is a specially-designed modern air-conditioned bus with a lift facility to bring the leaders onto the roof to wave to the crowds and deliver speech. PTI