Cong lists BJP ?violations?, seeks action
The Congress on Sunday demanded that the Election Commission take immediate action into at least three violations of the model code of conduct by the BJP and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
These include the distribution of money by nationalised banks with the BJP's symbol on the band that holds the bundle of currency together and the "allurement" of offering "two million jobs" to Urdu teachers.
The party also alleged that the BJP was insulting the patriotism of Indian Muslims and trying to communalise the elections by putting up a portrait of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on the Himayat committee's yatra van.
AICC spokesperson Anand Sharma displayed a bundle of currency notes sealed by a strap of paper bearing the BJP's lotus symbol. The bundle of 100 rupee notes bore the stamp of Allahabad Bank at Vasundhara in Ghaziabad.
"The BJP should be held accountable for this violation of the code," he said, recalling Union minister Saheb Singh Verma's efforts to misuse public money for the election campaign.
The spokesperson also condemned the use of Musharraf's photograph on the Himmayat committee van. "This is insensitive and opportunistic. It is an insult to the patriotism of the Indian Muslims. What is the message the BJP is sending through this action?" he said.
Sharma dubbed the PM's offer to construct madrasas and provide "two lakh jobs" to Urdu teachers as "amazing" and violative of the code.
He, however, refused to react to the Delhi Shahi Imam's appeal to Muslims to back the BJP in the elections.
The spokesperson read nervousness in the BJP camp and ridiculed the numbers that Vajpayee had cited as there are only six million teachers in the country. He recalled the various "flip-flops" that gave the impression of the PM being "confused and absent minded".
The country's destiny cannot be entrusted to his leadership, Sharma said, citing instances when Vajpayee forgot the names of the BJP candidates, including members of his Cabinet.
He also questioned the PM's sincerity in providing jobs to Urdu teachers. "This is mere tokenism and hypocrisy...had the PM been serious in his concern, there was nothing which could have prevented him or his government to act during the last six years for the welfare of the minority community...," he said.
Poll pick: Advani, Paswan force land
Bad weather forced separate choppers carrying Deputy PM L.K. Advani and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan to make emergency landings near Patna. No one was hurt.
Shoot-at-sight orders issued in Rae Bareli and sensitive booths in Bihar to prevent any attempt to disrupt polling. Indo-Nepal border along Bihar sealed to stop movement of miscreants.
Ex-PM V.P. Singh, who campaigned against late Rajiv Gandhi on the Bofors issue, said he would vote for the Congress.
BJP MLAs expelled
UP BJP expelled two MLAs from the party for ‘anti-party’ activities and working against the party’s official candidates for LS polls.
Return of the candidate
SP candidate for Ranchi seat Ali Raza Zaidi, who was missing since Friday, walked into a police station saying he had gone into hiding because he was being pressured to withdraw from the polls.
Cable TV operators in Muzaffarpur said they had blacked out all satellite TV channels to protest George Fernandes’ decision to contest from the constituency. They charged Fernandes did nothing for people there.