BJP faces UPA, Left ire on Malegaon blast

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi Nov 17 | Updated: Nov 19 2008, 04:05am hrs
A day after the BJP openly extended support to the prime accused in the Malegaon blasts, the saffron outfit came under severe attack from the Congress as well as the Left parties leading to a war of words that is only set to worsen in the days to come.

The BJP, however, did not seem apologetic and instead sought to turn the fire on the Congress, charging it of colouring terror on the basis of religion with the intent to divide the votebase. The Congress appears to be doing this exercise of politicising terrorism with a sinister design, to save itself from the nationwide anger against its soft policy towards terrorism the party said on Monday. This short-term Congress strategy will not only boomerang on it, but more importantly, in the process will jeopardise the spirit of national unity and integrity. it added.

Attending a VHP organised meet in Panipat on Sunday, BJP chief Rajnath Singh had expressed solidarity with the Malegaon accused by charging that its investigations were being inspired by political motives. Further acknowledging the ties between religion and politics, Singh had added: Politics in India has always had a deep relationship with religion. I, on behalf of the BJP, want to assure the seers that maligning their name by the UPA will not be tolerated by the party.

Among others who were present at the meet were Uttarakhand chief minister BC Khanduri and VHP leaders, the latter who were most vocal and alleging that the arrests were part of a larger conspiracy to undermine Hindu faith by the UPA headed by Sonia Gandhi.

Countering the BJP charge strongly, the Congress maintained that the saffron outfit was attempting to exploit terrorism issue for poltiical gains. Criticising Rajnath Singh for his comments on Sunday, party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi siad that this was a dangerous trend that was being pursued by the BJP leadership.

The CPIM too came out strongly against the BJP chief for virtually absolving the Malegaon accused when investigations were still going on. The BJP leadership is making the dangerous argument that no person affiliated to the Hindutva organisations can be investigated for terrorist offences a CPIM statement said. This has blown up the BJP stance against terrorism and exposed its rabid communal outlook it added. The Left also charged the BJP of mounting a campaign to pressurise police and administration investigating the terrorism cases.

The BJP, however, charged that the Congress was resorting to divisive votebank politics by using phrases like hindu terror. The Congress wants to deliberately colour terrorism with the clear intention of reaping short term political mileage to serve its petty political interests, a BJP statement said.

Accusing the Congress of directing and misusing the ATS probe in Maharashtra for its selfish political benefit, the BJP maintained that the Deshmukh government in Maharashtra had earlier forced the ATS to close down the enquiry in the serial train bomb blasts in Mumbai, never allowing narco and brain mapping tests of the suspects in the case.

It also came out with its own list of Congress suspects involved in terror cases. The party alleged Mohammed Surty, a minister of state in the Congress government in Gujarat was sentenced for 20 years by the courts in an arms smuggling case. It claimed that the Jama-et-ulema-hind had also submitted lists of 40 Congress leaders, allegedly involved in Godhra riots, to party president Sonia Gandhi.

It also claimed that Congress Seva Dal member Vimal Mushari, a close associate of Assam revenue minister Bhumidhar Barman was arrested for his involvement in recent serial blasts in the state.