Now Advani publicly lauds PM candidate Modi

Korba (Chhattisgarh), Sep 16 (IANS) BJP patriarch L.K. Advani Monday lauded Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi who was anointed the party's prime ministerial candidate despite his opposition.

Advani, a former deputy prime minister, showered praise on Modi in Chhattisgarh and said he has taken development to rural hinterland of Gujarat.

"My colleague Narendra Modi, who has been declared as PM candidate of the party, was the first leader who had taken development in rural areas of Gujarat. He ensured 24-hour power supply in each and every village in Gujarat from where I too belong as a member of parliament," Advani, 85, said amid applause in Chhattisgarh's Korba town where he dedicated a 500 MW Hasdeo Thermal Power Expansion Project.

Though Advani opposed it, Modi was made the Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Sep 13. An unhappy Advani did not attend the BJP parliamentary board meeting where Modi's name was decided upon and wrote a scathing letter to party president Rajnath Singh expressing his displeasure and disappointment. He also talked about "anguish in my heart" in the letter.

Three days later, Advani, one of the founders of both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the earlier Bharatiya Jana Sangh, spoke up in Chhattisgarh.

Advani, who lauded Modi, was also quick to heap praise on Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and said he was also doing the same job in Chhattisgarh that Modi has done for infrastructure and power in Gujarat.

"An honest leadership in Chhattisgarh has brought good governance to the state," Advani said while referring to Raman Singh who is heading the BJP government in the mineral-rich state since December 2003. Chhattisgarh goes to the assembly polls by the year-end.

"They are taking the development to rural masses and I feel proud to see their achievement and success," said Advani while referring to Modi as well as Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh.

Advani lavished praise on Raman Singh and said the new state Chhattisgarh has seen a tremendous development. He advised the BJP government to focus on education and health sectors and appealed to students to always keep updated with changes in IT sector to match pace with development.

"Raman Singh always thinks for his people and the youth and their welfare. I thank him and his cabinet colleagues for making Chhattisgarh a power surplus state," said Advani in the presence of the Chhattisgarh chief minister and his few cabinet colleagues.

Raman Singh said Chhattisgarh has put in Rs.17,000 crore investment for power generation, transmission and distribution system and electricity was available in the state round-the-clock at the cheapest rate in the country.

"Even in the period when several states faced blackout due to Northern Grid's failure, Chhattisgarh remained totally unaffected and even supplied power to other states," Raman Singh said.

The plant, which was built by Chhattisgarh State Power Generation Company Ltd. at Rs.3,671 crore, has taken the total power generation capacity of the 13-year-old state to 2,424 MW. The demand in the state even at the peak hour is about 2,000 MW.

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