Terming P Chidambaram's "saffron terror" remark as a serious mistake on his part, former BJP chief Rajnath Singh today threatened an agitation by nationalist forces if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not seek an apology from the Home Minister for his statement.
"Home Minister Chidambaram has committed a serious mistake. Nationalist forces would raise this issue, and launch an agitation if the PM does not seek an apology from him and direct him to withdraw his words," Singh told a press conference after launching state BJP's house journal Maru Kamal Darpan in Jaipur.
The Home Minister's clarification that the remark was not directed against the BJP would not be sufficient, he said adding that the party will make it an issue.
"Saffron is not just a word related to BJP but is a symbol of peace and happiness. Saffron is also one of the colours in the national flag and represents the Indian ethos of sacrifice and devotion," the BJP leader said.
Noting that terror has no religion, Rajnath said it could not be associated with a particular caste, creed, colour or religion.
"We never use a term like Islamic terror because the scourge can not be linked with a particular set of social, moral, ethnic and religious values," he said.
Charging the Congress-led UPA with miserably failing on all fronts including internal and external security, he said both terror and naxalite problems were a matter of great concern for the country.
Describing Naxalism as not just a state or law and order issue, he said the UPA government should form a joint action plan to fight it.
With a touch of irony, the former BJP chief said, "UPA government is known all over the world for growing Naxal menace and price rise."
On the current crisis in Jammu and Kashmir, Rajnath said things could not normalise in the Valley until Article 370 of the Constitution was abrogated.
When asked why the step was not taken by the Vajpayee government, he said it was running on a Common Mininum Programme (CMP) and it was not possible for it to take major decisions without an absolute majority in Parliament.
Asked to comment on Prime Minister's statement on Monday showing his preference for more young members in his cabinet, Singh said, "I will not name Congress' youth leader but the ABVP (BJP's student wing) has emerged victorious in the students' union polls not only in Delhi University but also in Rajasthan University".
Claiming that the university poll results proved that it was wrong to assume that the youth were attracted towards the Congress, he said they showed the BJP's revial and return to power from youth level.