As forces fight terrorists, BJP is busy seeking votes
After a day of reluctant self-restraint, the BJP on Friday returned to its favourite theme in election season — the government’s failure to tackle terror, report HT Correspondents.delhi Updated: Nov 29, 2008 02:47 IST
After a day of reluctant self-restraint, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday returned to its favourite theme in election season — the government’s failure to tackle terror.
The debate on terrorism in India has always been muddied by the partisan approach of parties, but political responses after the Mumbai terror attacks had suggested an emerging unity in purpose among them. But that wasn’t to be.
Turning hawkish, BJP leader L.K. Advani charged that intelligence agencies’ energies were diverted to nail the “so-called Hindu terror, which evidently enabled the Mumbai attackers to go undetected”. Ironically, Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare, who the BJP wanted sacked for going after Hindu extremists, laid down his life fighting terrorists from the front.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi went to the Oberoi-Trident hotel even as commandos were battling it out with the terrorists inside. After his customary Pakistan bashing, he termed as “disappointing” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's address to the nation in the wake of the attacks. “The country had pinned a lot of hope on the prime minister but his address was disappointing,” Modi said.
In Delhi, which goes to polls on Saturday, the BJP’s day began with newspaper ads that said “Brutal terror strikes at will — weak government unwilling and incapable. Fight terror, vote BJP.”
The party also released a ‘message’ from former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, which directly linked his appeal to Delhi voters with the terror in Mumbai. “There is a general sense of insecurity caused by crime and terrorism,” Vajpayee’s statement said. “We must elect a government that can fight terror, tooth and nail.”
By Friday evening, when the National Security Guard (NSG) commandos were close to completing their job at Nariman House, BJP general secretary Gopinath Munde reached the spot. There was a crowd of bystanders and Munde was quite happy to address them.
An angry Congress charged the BJP with indulging in “political opportunism” and hit out at Modi for going to the trouble spot against the Maharashtra government’s advice. Union minister Kapil Sibal accused Modi of “unjustified arrogance”, saying even the prime minister and Congress president did not go to any of the three spots where security agencies were involved in operations against militants.
“Advani attacked the central and state governments when our forces were fighting terrorists,” he said. “This is something the Congress has never done in the past and would never do in the future. His lust to occupy the highest chair of the country, it seems, is above national interest also.”