An upset BJP is likely to move court against the J&K government for "illegal detention" of Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj. Party leaders said they saw sufficient grounds to challenge the state's actions in curbing their movement and thwarting the yatra to hoist the tricolour at lal Chowk in Srinagar.
The BJP is more displeased with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's treatment of senior leaders Jaitley and Swaraj than his government's act of preventing the ekta yatra. And the two, along with yuva morcha head Anurag Thakur and other workers, were felicitated by leaders including LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Rajnath Singh for making the yatra a "success".
Abdullah, said party seniors, did not show any "basic courtesy" due to the leaders of Opposition. They pointed out that it was the first time since the Emergency that Opposition leaders were absent at Rajpath.
The CM had called up Jaitley late Wednesday night to say he was sorry for "inconveniencing" them by detaining them at Jammu airport and then at Kathua. He also invited them to join the official Republic Day function in the state.
Soon after her release, Swaraj said: "This is an extraordinary situation…This is the first Republic Day after the Emergency when both leaders of Opposition were kept under arrest. And our fault was that we were entering J&K and for this crime we were arrested."
She asked, "My first question to the government is what kind of a Republic is this."
Jaitley said: "We were under arrest even after the parade was over. That proves how serious Omar Abdullah was on the invite."
He said many activists tried to hoist the tricolour at Lal Chowk on Thursday but were arrested. "It is grand standing that they were first arrested and then Omar hoisted the national flag."
Swaraj said, "Last night we also got a farcical invitation when the chief minister invited us to take part in the official function in Srinagar. Was he not aware that we were under arrest?"
Advani said the agitation has brought to the forefront the issue of "fully integrating" J-K with the rest of the country. He recalled the movement launched by BJP ideologue Shyama Prasad Mookerjee "to unify the whole of Kashmir with the rest of India" and the NDA regime's amendment of the Flag Code allowing all Indians the right to hoist the tricolour on all days.
Party chief Nitin Gadkari asked, "…You have bowed to separatists and people say there is politics in hoisting the national flag at Lal Chowk. I don't understand what politics there can be in hoisting the flag..."