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Advani calls for 'brighter India', launches 'Jan Chetna' campaign

The 'Jan Chetna' road campaign was aimed at increasing awareness about corruption and instilling confidence in a "brighter India", Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani said Tuesday, adding that he had found inspiration in legendary socialist leader Jayaprakash Narayan.

"We want to remove despair and frustration among the common people and create confidence in them about about a brighter India," Advani said at a public meeting in Sitab Diara, the birthplace of Jayaprakash Narayan, known as JP to all.


AFP Photo/Raveendran

Advani, 83, formally launches his Jan Chetna Yatra from Chapra town, 70 km away. His sixth road campaign takes him to 23 states and four union territories in 38 days.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and senior BJP leaders, including Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Anant Kumar, were present at the meeting.

"I was inspired by Jayaprakash Narayan to began a 12,000 km cross-country 'Jan Chetna' campaign to raise awareness against corruption because people are fed up," Advani said, recalling that JP's contribution to the movement against corruption and Emergency in the 1970s.

"My campaign will help bring black money to the country from abroad" Advani said.

Targeting the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) central government, he said: "People's faith in democracy and governance is eroding fast due to rampant corruption in the country during the UPA government."

He said time had come not just to change the government but bring in a system for good governance and a corruption free country.

If the 20th century belonged to the western countries, Advani said, the 21st century would belong to India.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will give leadership for the progress of the country in the 21st century as it did in Bihar in the past six years, he added.

Key NDA ally and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said it was an honour for Sitab Diara to be selected for the start of Advani's campaign.

The Janata Dal-United (JD-U) chief said Advani had been always at the forefront of the fight against corruption.

Advani had landed in Sitab Diara, about 150 km from the state capital Patna, in a helicopter. The leaders garlanded a statue of Jayaprakash Narayan, known as JP, and visited his home in Lala Tola.

The plan was to flag off the yatra from Sitab Diara but the venue was moved to Chapra in view of the bad road condition and waterlogging.

The 12,000 km public awareness campaign will see Advani cover about 300 km a day in his special rath or modified bus.

"I have always received support from my two families -- personal family and the ideological family," he told reporters at his New Delhi residence before leaving.

"That has kept me fine in body and mind," he added.

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