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BJP ticket for Christian baiter

india Updated: Mar 25, 2009 00:58 IST
Soumyajit Pattnaik
Soumyajit Pattnaik
Hindustan Times
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Ashok Sahu, president of the Hindu Jagaran Samukhya in Orissa, did not mince words when he blamed the church in Kandhamal district for the killing of VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati in August 2008. His statements sparked off widespread anti-Christian violence in the area.

Sahu’s uninterrupted diatribe against the Christians was “rewarded” with a BJP ticket to contest from the Phulbani Lok Sabha seat, which includes the entire Kandhamal district, on Tuesday.

“The BJP has rewarded Sahu with a ticket because he spewed venom against us. He will try to polarize voters in Kandhamal like Varun Gandhi is doing in Pilibhit,” said a Christian leader.

Just hours after he was intimated about the BJP’s decision, Sahu told HT: “My win from Kandhamal is certain. Swami Laxmanananda’s killing is a major election issue for us. I will tell the people how the Naveen Patnaik government is making
arrests almost everyday in the nun rape case, but showing no interest in trying to arrest the killers of the swamiji.”

But, can the former IPS officer launch a direct attack on a particular community after the poll panel came down heavily on Varun Gandhi? “I will certainly be circumspect in my choice of words. Appealing to voters in the name of Hindutva is not communalism. Hindutva is a way of living.”