BJP today demanded an explanation from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and NAC chairperson Sonia Gandhi on the delay in hanging Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru after reports claimed that a senior minister asked the Delhi government to keep the matter pending.
"The Prime Minister owes an explanation to the nation... Sonia Gandhi, as chairperson of National Advisory Council, holds a position of responsibility. Why was a minister allowed to play with an issue of national security," BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here.
He alleged that "vote bank considerations" forced the Congress party, which has been power both at the Centre and in Delhi, to keep the matter pending.
"Vote bank considerations is the prime reason for lack of any stern action in the Afzal Guru case," Prasad said adding, BJP would take the matter to the "people of the country."
He said the Central government had "misled" the Parliament on the issue by contending that Guru's case was in a "queue".
Accusing the government of committing a "patent case of fraud on the Constitution", Prasad said there was no legal basis for the argument of a queue of death row convicts as matters could have been expedited in cases as serious as an attack on Indian Parliament.
"The government wilfully, deliberately and in a planned manner misled Parliament by putting forth the concept of a queue," he said.
Home Minister P Chidambaram had contended that Guru's mercy petition was the 22nd among 28 pending with the government. The government would take up the petitions in the order in which they came up and recommend whether they should be accepted or rejected and inform the President accordingly, he had said.
Asked if former Home Minister Shivraj Patil had asked her to keep a decision on Guru file pending even if the Ministry sends frequent reminders, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had said in a television interview, "May be what you are thinking is true."
"It is a patent dereliction of duty and a clear fraud on the Constitution ... the Home Minister who is supposed to expedite (such matters) is asking the Chief Minister to delay the file," Prasad said.
"BJP condemns this patent case of fraud on the Constitution by a senior minister whose pressure has been confirmed by the Chief Minister of Delhi," he said.