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Jethmalani raises questions on PM's health

By A Correspondent in New Delhi
April 19, 2004 14:32 IST
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Noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani, who is contesting against Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Lucknow as an Independent candidate, on Monday raised questions about the prime minister's health.

Speaking to a private news channel in New Delhi, he said Vajpayee has now stopped going to his South Block office and operates out of his 7 Race Course residence.

Earlier, at a media conference he reiterated his resolve to contest against Vajpayee, who has appealed to him to withdraw from the race for the sake of their friendship.
"What friendship is the prime minister talking of. I was a friend of Vajpayee, but he did not keep his side of the deal. I have not seen any evidence of this friendship," he said.

Congress spokesman Kapil Sibal, who sat next to Jethamalani at the media conference, said his party will withdraw its candidate, Rajya Sabha member Akhilesh Das, from Lucknow and support Jethmalani.

On the confusion over his candidature, Jethmalani said: "I had my family circumstances and would have had to stay there [in London] for four-five days more for my son. But by God's grace everything is alright now and I am here."

Monday is the last day for withdrawal of candidature for the Lok Sabha polls in Lucknow.

In Lucknow, Akhilesh Das said he has not received any directive from the party to withdraw his candidature yet.

He, however, added: "If Sonia Gandhi orders, I will agree and support any candidate," Das said.


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A Correspondent in New Delhi
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