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Sushma steals Rajnath thunder

Reflecting the BJP’s internal tussle, Opposition deputy leader Sushma Swaraj put up a more aggressive performance than party president Rajnath Singh who had spoken the previous day — to show she was ahead in the race to succeed LK Advani as Leader of Opposition, reports Shekhar Iyer.

india Updated: Dec 09, 2009 00:04 IST
Shekhar Iyer

The Lok Sabha witnessed more heated arguments on the Liberhan report on Tuesday, the second day of the debate.

Reflecting the BJP’s internal tussle, Opposition deputy leader Sushma Swaraj put up a more aggressive performance than party president Rajnath Singh who had spoken the previous day — to show she was ahead in the race to succeed L.K. Advani as Leader of Opposition.

Swaraj, who could not initiate the debate because Singh wanted to speak first, addressed the RSS’s concerns much like he did but in a more assertive style.

“Did the kar sewaks dismantle the disputed structure? Yes. Was there a conspiracy? No,” she said, adding: “Yes, we are ready for any punishment, if you want to punish us. Both the leaders inside and outside the House are ready.”

Swaraj also alleged that Liberhan had not written the report and said the matter needed to be probed.

Liberhan, she said, had, on the day his report was tabled, said he had not indicted former PM A.B. Vajpayee. But two days later he said that as the leader of the BJP, Vajpayee must take responsibility for the demolition, just as a “managing director” should for the wrongdoings of his company.

In a spirited defence of Advani who had come under criticism from the Congress, Left and other parties, she said: “Advani was not khalnayak (villain) but a jannayak (a mass leader). It was the largest people’s movement of post-Independent India. Ram is the soul of India as all religions with origins in the country, including the Sikh Guru Granth, praised Ram.”

Swaraj didn’t spare CPI member Gurudas Dasgupta either. She took a dig at him for calling for the BJP’s “political isolation” a day earlier in the Lok Sabha when four days ago, he had invited her to address an AITUC rally against the government’s economic policies.

Shiv Sena’s Ananth Geete said: “Nobody is crying for the 3.5 lakh Hindus who have been thrown out of the Kashmir valley...In the 1984 anti-Sikh riots 3,000 Sikhs were killed in cold blood, but people were mourning the fall of a disputed structure.”

CPM member Basudeb Acharia said the demolition of the Babri Masjid was a “calculated, pre-planned action on part of Sangh Parivar”.

He accused former PM Rajiv Gandhi of not heeding his advice of appealing in the Allahabad High Court against the Faizabad court order of 1986 on opening the gates of Babri Masjid.