BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate LK Advani has signaled to partymen and rivals alike that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will be the mascot for the party’s anti-terrorism plank in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.
Advani called Modi to Delhi to showcase his government’s success in probing the recent serial blasts in Ahmedabad and asked him to jointly address a press conference in the BJP headquarters on Wednesday, where both raised the spectre of “grave danger” posed by the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
This is the first time Modi has addressed the media in the BJP headquarters, since he became CM in October 2001. Both Advani and Modi harped on the charge that the terrorist threat has been “compounded by direct and indirect political patronage by the Congress and its allies.”
Modi said, “Not a single Congress leader has condemned SIMI, whereas one Union minister has demanded citizenship for all Bangladeshi infiltrators.” This has undermined the national will to battle terror, they said.
Both Advani and Modi conveyed their ire over the Centre’s refusal to grant President’s assent to the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Bill, 2003, better known as Gujcoc, despite repeated pleas to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his government.
Advani said, “The investigations, which have been so vigorously and successfully carried out by Gujarat and Rajasthan Police, conclusively establish that the blasts in Ahmedabad and Jaipur were the handiwork of SIMI.”
Modi said, “The investigations have brought out the real objective of SIMI, which, as the organisation has time and again affirmed, is on the lines of the Taliban.”
Advani and Modi said the most distressing fact was that leaders of the Congress and its allies went to the extent of visiting a village in Azamgarh to express sympathy to and solidarity with an alleged perpetrator of the Ahmedabad explosions, who had been arrested from that village.
Meanwhile, reacting to Advani’s demand for a white paper on SIMI, Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said, “White paper should be brought out not only against SIMI, but all organisations involved in anti-national activities like Bajrang Dal and VHP.”
Asked about the stand of some of the UPA partners to lift the ban on SIMI, Tewari said, “The Congress believes that SIMI is a terrorist organisation.” He said the UPA partners are not members of the Congress and they are entitled to their opinion.