Gujarat chief minister and newly appointed BJP election campaign committee chairman Narendra Modi will pay tributes to Bharatiya Jan Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mukherjee at Madhopur on Punjab-Jammu and Kashmir border on June 23.
Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, the Punjab BJP chief Kamal Sharma said that a rally would be held at Madhopur near the life statue of Mukherjee to commemorate his sacrifice and to pay tributes to him for opposing then J&K government directive on allowing Indians' entry only on permit.
Though Janta Dal (U) today served its ties with the saffron party after Modi's elevation as BJP campaign committee chairman, Modi's Madhopur visit, a first outside Gujarat after assuming new responsibility amidst crisis, was being seen as a strategic move to shift the public attention. He is likely to deliver "pro-active" speech on India's Kashmir policy to attract international media attraction, insiders said, adding Modi would also try to blunt his critics during the public address.
This is to mention here that Mukherjee was arrested soon after he entered the territory of J&K defying permit system introduced by the then J&K government for Indian citizens to travel in the state. He was taken to Srinagar and put in the jail only to sacrifice his life for the cause. The permit system was later abolished.
Asked about the ongoing controversy triggered due to resignation of party stalwart LK Advani, Sharma evaded a direct reply and refused to comment. "Since the issue is already settled and the national spokesperson had already made party's stand clear on the same, I don't deem it fit to comment any further," he added.
On the construction of a memorial in the memory of more than 25,000 innocent people killed during terrorism days in Punjab, Sharma said he was not against the construction of such a memorial, where the people would pay tributes to the citizen martyrs.