In the final run-up to the assembly elections in Gujarat, an unlikely pair — a terrorist on death row and a former prime minister — have come to the aid of the ruling BJP.
With just two days left for the second phase of polling in central and northern Gujarat, the BJP released two advertisements in Thursday's newspapers, seeking to cash in on the stature of Atal Behari Vajpayee and the resentment over the delay in the execution of Afzal Guru, accused in the Parliament attack case on this day six years ago.
Vajpayee, who, as prime minister, had advised Chief Minister Narendra Modi to follow "Rajdharma", had not campaigned in Gujarat all this time, leading to speculation that he had disassociated himself from the latter. With Thursday morning's advertisement, carrying Vajpayee's photo and a letter, the BJP has sought to dispel that perception.
In the advertisement, the former prime minister asks his friends in Gujarat to give another chance to Modi.
The sixth anniversary of the attack on Parliament has come in handy for the BJP to press the charge that the Congress is "soft" on terrorism. Without naming Afzal, the advertisement reminds the readers of the terrorist act. It then goes on to regret that the culprit is still alive, thanks to "votebank politics". "How long compromise with terrorism for the sake of votes would continue?" the advertisement asks as a pensive Modi looks on.