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BJP ready to back federal agency, but with a rider

delhi Updated: Dec 02, 2008 01:22 IST
Shekhar Iyer
Shekhar Iyer
Hindustan Times
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As P Chidambaram took over as Home Minister from Shivraj Patil, BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley said replacement of individuals cannot be a substitute for policy.

If there is no policy change, there is going to be no difference in the situation, he added. The government, in particular the Congress, must realize that an anti-terrorism approach is not an anti-minority approach.

Jaitely said, one will have to be clear on two things – how to prevent a terrorist strike and what has to be done in case there is one. While actionable intelligence and strong security apparatus will prevent attacks, a strong law and quick investigation, conviction and punishment to perpetrators will act as a deterrent against any attacks.

Therefore, Jaitely said, the BJP would wholeheartedly back Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s plan for a federal investigative agency only if he also brought in a strong anti-terror law. In fact, in his opinion, the Centre need not waste time in trying to seek a consensus on this as terrorism was a national subject and could create such agency. “You already have central agencies like the IB (Intelligence Bureau) and the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation).”

While agreeing that L.K. Advani as Home Minister too attempted a consensus among the states on creating such an agency, he cautioned the government against using the proposal as a “diversionary tactics.”

Asked about the BJP’s expectation from the new Home Minister, Jaitely said, “We are 100 days away from the elections and the scenario that is building up resembles the cracking up of the Raj. Now there seems to be effectively a blame-game disguised as a search for the scape goat. The first indication came from the member of the Gandhi family when she said if my grandmother had been around things would have been different.”

Jaitley said the entire security apparatus needed an overhaul along with a new policy on terrorism. “It is a governmental crisis. Different agencies are acting in different directions. After all, the Prime Minister was to attend an awards function at Oberoi Trident on November 29. Did not the SPG, which is protecting him, get or act thoroughly on the intelligence tips?”

Asked if the party would back the government on any step against Pakistan, Jaitely said, “the government must decide on what should be done to make Pakistan realize that the monumental conspiracy was hatched on its soil.”