With controversy surrounding BJP's Prime Ministerial face LK Advani over the Kandahar hijack issue, the Congress is planning to corner the saffron party by raking up the issue during the campaign for general elections.
"Kandahar would be one of the important issues of Congress campaign as the nation needs to decide if they can ever vote BJP and elect Advani as the Prime Minister," Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari said.
His remark comes close on the heels of party President Sonia Gandhi questioning Advani's contention that he had no knowledge about the then External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh being sent to Kandahar along with three terrorists in 1999 to seek release of 156 passengers held hostage on hijacked Indian Airlines IC-814 plane.
Gandhi had wondered whether the then Home Minister was not "trusted" by his own government at that time. Tiwari said if it was a fact that Advani was kept in the dark by his own government on a serious issue, "then it is matter of a bigger concern".
"Can we have a Prime Minister who is not trusted by his partymen? It is a question of credibility," he said. Seeking to downplay the controversy, BJP says the Congress is raking up the matter to divert attention from burning issues like price rise.
"It is a ploy. Congress is seeking to divert attention of the public from its government's failures. Issues like price rise and internal security are the real issues on which the future selections would be fought and won," BJP President Rajnath Singh said.
BJP spokesman Ravi Shanker Prasad insisted that the decision to release terrorists was taken "as per the suggestion of parties including Congress."