The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday said it stood by its criticism of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the aftermath of the serial blasts in Jaipur, and it will not tender an apology as demanded by the Congress.
"The statement issued by our general secretary Arun Jaitley questioning the bonafides of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in combating terrorism is well-placed and correct. We will not apologise for the same," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters.
The May 13 serial blasts in Jaipur, which left more than 60 people killed, has led to a blame game between the Congress, which leads the ruling coalition, and the main opposition BJP on the issue of terrorism.
Manmohan Singh on Saturday said there was a need for a federal agency to tackle growing cases of inter-state crimes and terrorism but some states showed reluctance to surrender power to such an authority.
Jaitley reacted Sunday saying the prime minister's statement had come too late, and accused him of being soft on terror to appease the minorities for vote-bank politics.
He alleged that anti-terror bills, on the lines of the now-repealed Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), passed by states like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh (all ruled by the BJP) were yet to get the central government's assent.
The Congress retaliated saying an attack on the prime minister in this manner was an attack on the nation's prestige and sought an apology from the BJP.
"How much does the Congress care for the prime minister's authority? Does he wield the real authority? Can he induct or remove any minister of his choice? All these powers are with Congress president Sonia Gandhi," Prasad said.