BJP to use Ram Setu plank, faces Dravidian ire in South

Written by Mukesh Ranjan | Bhopal, Sep 23 | Updated: Sep 24 2007, 06:17am hrs
Failure to sort out the leadership issue in the party notwithstanding, the three- day national executive meeting of the BJP ended here on Sunday.

The party is poised to capitalise on the Ram Setu issue in the coming days to strengthen its core Hindutva votebase. With the assessment that mid term polls were imminent, the party also said it would highlight the UPA governments failures in providing socio-economic security and protect national sovereignty before the people.

The attempt to build bridges with its core constituency was evident when the party passed a resolution on the Ram Setu issue, along with opposition to the Sachar Committee report on the status of Muslims.Clarity, however, continues to elude the party on the leadership issue, with everyone singing the familiar tune that both Vajpayee and senior leader LK Advani were their leader, even though the latter was at the centrestage because of Vajpayees absence due to ill health.

Even party president Rajnath Singh sidestepped a direct question - will senior Advani be a natural choice after Vajpayee by saying that the issue was not on the agenda.

Advani, however, in his concluding remarks in the meet, said, I am very happy to find that Ataljis health has improved considerably since I had last met him before leaving for Chennai on September 19. Rajnathji showed me his message saying that before long he would be in our midst. Let us all pray that this happens very soon and he continues to lead and guide us as he did in the past. Refusing to make any loaded statements, Advani in fact even stressed on the need for discipline and called upon the leaders to go back and begin work for the coming electoral battle with unity and determination.

In the three day deliberations, the party identified 250 Lok Sabha constituencies, where it believes chances of winning are more. Between October 25 and November 6 we have planned to have organizational meetings in each of them, where representatives of booth committees will also participate, and will discuss how to further consolidate our position, party president Rajnath Singh said adding that the exercise would be extended to two more phases to include another 250 constituencies.

From October 10-15, the party has decided to send senior national leaders to each of the state capitals to assess prevailing political situation. During the period it has also been planned to have public meetings there to highlight UPAs failures on various counts.

Political Bureau

Chennai/Bhopal, Sep 23

The fatwa issued against DMK patriarch and Tamil Nadu chief minister

M Karunanidhi reportedly by former BJP MP Ramvilas Vedanti had its repercussions in the state on Sunday, with the BJP headquarters and Hindu Munnani office getting targetted by DMK supporters.

The houses of BJPs Tamil Nadu unit president H Raja and his father-in-law were also attacked allegedly by DMK workers at Karaikudi in neighbouring Sivaganga district late on Saturday night. Hundreds of alleged DMK workers on Sunday ransacked the BJPs Tamil Nadu unit headquarters in the city, while staging a demonstration against Vedantis reported fatwa against Karunanidhi for his anti-Ram remarks. They pelted stones and damaged vehicles parked inside the office complex and broke the flag mast of the party, after ransacking the office by breaking the window panes.

The attack came a day after senior DMK leader and state electricity minister N Veerasamy took strong exception to the reported fatwa by Vedanti for beheading Karunanidhi and said he would hold black flag demonstration in front of BJP offices in the state if Vedanti did not withdraw his remarks.

Meanwhile, the BJP on Sunday demanded from Bhopal that the Central government intervene and seek action against the Tamil Nadu government and bring the culprits to book. Condemning the attacks, BJP president Rajnath Singh said, its a perfect example of political fascism and prevailing reign of terror in the state.

I not only condemn the attacks, rather I strongly demand from the Centre to take stern action against Karunanidhi government, Singh asserted.

Informing that leader of Opposition LK Advani spoke to home minister Shivraj Patil and party incharge of the state Ravi Shakar Prasad speaking to the states director general of police, the party president said that in democracy violence has no place.

Also attempting to distance the party from the fatwa, Singh said, We dont support or in any way own up Vedantis statement. His outburst against Karunanidhi is strange to our culture and ethos because violence has no place in democracy.

However, shifting gear, he attacked Congress for keeping mum issue and claimed that if the Centre does not take action against the state government, it would mean that Karunanidhi is speaking on Congress behalf as a larger design of the ruling coalition.

Though, he made it clear that freedom of expression does not allow blasphemy, Singh appealed to party workers to keep calm and remain peaceful as culprits would certainly be brought to book.