The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) put pressure on Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday, praising President Pranab Mukherjee's address on the eve of 65th Republic Day.
BJP president Rajnath Singh said the country needed a stable government after the 2014 Lok Sabha polls
and agreed that 'populist anarchy' was no substitute for governance — as pointed out by Mukherjee a day ago.
"I... welcome the President's remarks on the issue of anarchist politics," Singh said, even as Mukherjee's words are being interpreted as a criticism of the AAP.
After maintaining the President had referred to the entire country in his 'anarchy' remark, the AAP, however, backtracked on Sunday and said it would "consider" the speech.
Reacting to the unfolding of events, Kejriwal said, “I am happy that a debate has been kicked off if a dharna by a CM leads to a constitutional crisis.” “Look at the newspapers. Some are in favour and some are critical and a healthy debate is always good in a democracy,” he added.
Read: Prez Pranab's veiled attack on AAP: 'Populist anarchy' can't be a substitute for governance
The AAP had held a two-day protest in the Capital recently, demanding action against four policemen who did not carry out a raid on an alleged drug and sex racket on the orders law minister Somnath Bharti.
During the chaotic demonstration against the Delhi Police, which function under the Union home ministry, chief minister Kejriwal had declared he was an "anarchist".
"Whatever President said, we don't want to make comments in this regard as he is the First Citizen of this country. If he has said something about us, we would carefully listen to him and consider it," said Ashutosh, a journalist-turned-AAP leader.
However, minutes after the address, AAP leader Yogendra Yadav had said the President's speech was not about the rookie party. "When he (Mukherjee) talks about anarchy, he looks towards the nation. He must be thinking about what is happening in Gujarat, Punjab and the entire country."
With Yadav mentioning Gujarat (ruled by BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi) in his explanation, the saffron party sent the ball in the AAP's court on Republic Day.
"The President's speech was good," Singh said, while unfurling the Tricolour at the BJP headquarters.
Veteran BJP leader LK Advani also said it was “significant” that Mukherjee found it imperative to speak against “populist anarchy” in his address.
The ruling AAP and the BJP, which is the prime opposition party in Delhi, had locked horns on Saturday after law minister Bharti asked a journalist, "How much did Modi pay you?"
Bharti was queried if he was planning to resign over a controversial midnight raid he had carried out in a south Delhi locality. The alleged inaction of the police during the raid had triggered the recent protest by the AAP.
Following the outburst, which was condemned by Kejriwal, BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had said the AAP was "behaving like unguided missiles".
With PTI, IANS inputs
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