Former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee came out in support of BJP president Rajnath Singh’s decision to court arrest in connection with the Election Commission’s order to file FIR against him for the controversial CD, which was later withdrawn by the party, as it was 'unauthorised'.
Vajpayee concurred with Rajnath Singh and other BJP leaders that the EC’s action against the party’s national president was 'malafide' when a BJP functionary was involved in distributing the CD that was 'not part of the officially approved campaign material'.
Rajnath Singh told Hindustan Times that he decided to take a tough line on the issue as "they want to defame the BJP at the national level. They went to name me when the national party was not involved. They left out the UP BJP chief.”
The BJP president said the party’s political rivals were behind the move, which would be resisted through legal and agitational means. “Public anger is growing against the action, which is disproportionate to the alleged offence.”
The BJP brass decided to 'brazen it out' on the controversial CD issue after Leader of Opposition LK Advani was the first to come out with a tough line against the FIR against Rajnath Singh.
Till Advani spoke out against the EC for “singling out” Rajnath Singh when the panel had not acted against other party chiefs for violations of the Model Code of Conduct previously, other BJP leaders were not too sure whether they should be aggressive when the party had its back to the wall.
BJP officials said the mood of the party brass changed after Rajnath said he would court arrest and Advani spoke out against the EC. They decided that they should go to the public against their rivals for “goading” the EC to act against the BJP because of its “resurgence.”
They did not rule reviving the campaign against Election Commissioner Navin Chawla, who had been targeted by the BJP for his alleged proximity to the Congress chief.
The BJP leaders were upset that the EC ordered FIR against the party chief when the party had on its own withdrawn the CD and acted against its functionary for releasing an “unauthorized” version. BJP leaders say similar action was not initiated against Lalu Prasad Yadav who used a Godhra CD in the Bihar polls and was shown on television channels distributing money.
“Recently notices have been issued to Sharad Pawar for violation of code of conduct by declaring sugar package and to Mulayam Singh Yadav for castist appeal. But no FIR is registered against them. Earlier no FIR was registered against either Sonia Gandhi for using state aircraft during the Chhattisgarh assembly polls,” BJP vice president Muktar Abbas Naqvi said.
On Monday, when the EC begins hearing the complaint against the BJP for circulation of the CD, Rajnath Singh, accompanied by senior leaders including Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Venkaiah Naidu, Naqvi and Arun Jaitley, will court arrest in Lucknow.
In Delhi, as BJP leaders defend their case before the EC, a demonstration will be led by party’s deputy leader in Lok Sabha VK Malhotra near the panel’s headquarters.
The BJP has also decided to observe Monday as 'Jan Aakrosh Divas' (Public Anger Day) across the country to counter 'pseudo-secularists who are out to defame BJP through dis-information campaign'.
Naqvi said the 'pseudo-secularists', including Congress, Samajwadi Party and BSP, were 'conspiring' against BJP as they were 'terrified' by its 'increasing popularity and support base'.