At a time when the BJP was trying to corner the government on FDI in retail, it was caught by surprise on Wednesday when the hanging of 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab came to light.
The party - which showcases national security as its political plank - had to welcome the move, albeit with caution. Immediately afterwards, however, came an attempt to wrest the national security plank back from the government, with BJP leaders wondering why Parliament attack accused Afzal Guru had not been hanged yet.
BJP leaders also alleged on the condition of anonymity that the government had timed the execution to score points a day before the winter session of Parliament in which the opposition wants to corner it on retail FDI and graft.
BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said: "Kasab's hanging will act as a balm on the wounds of the people of Mumbai. But their wounds are still fresh. They will get relief only when Kasab's handlers are brought to justice."
While addressing a protest against FDI in retail and corruption here, BJP president Nitin Gadkari asked why Afzal Guru had not been hanged: "I want to ask the UPA government why Afzal Guru has not been hanged even ten years after the incident," he said.
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi also tweeted: "What about Afzal Guru, who attacked Parliament, our temple of democracy, in 2001?"
BJP spokesperson Ramnath Kovind told HT: "Earlier, the government justified the delay in hanging Afzal Guru, citing a queue of death row convicts. But it hasn't followed a queue now, proving that it was just trying to misguide the people to serve its vote bank politics."