Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil's comments virtually equating Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru with Sarabjit Singh on Wednesday drew flak from the BJP, which accused the Congress of playing votebank politics.
The main Opposition party slammed as "irresponsible" the Home Minister's remarks that how can the demand be made for the hanging of Afzal when India has been pressing for clemency for Sarabjit.
"The comments of the Home Minister are deplorable and condemnable. The Government, which has been dithering from executing Afzal, is playing votebank politics by giving such absurd reasons," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told PTI.
He said the cases of Afzal and Sarabjit, who is on a death row in Pakistan, are totally different.
"While Sarabjit's was a case of mistaken identity, Afzal's role and involvement in the Parliament attack is proven and he has been convicted by the court," Javadekar added.
Another senior leader Ravi Shankar Prasad described Patil's remarks "as one of the most irresponsible comments by a minister" and said "it is bound to have serious implications on the ongoing Indo-Pak talks".
"The statement of the Home Minister relating Sarabjit's case to the Parliament attack convict would demoralise the Indian security forces," he said and demanded that Afzal's capital punishment be executed.
He said while several courts, including the apex court, awarded capital punishment for Afzal, in Sarabjit's case many Pakistani leaders have publicly raised questions on his identity, he said.