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Rajnath not allowed to court arrest

Lucknow cops refuse to arrest the BJP boss over the CD row saying they are probing the EC complaint, reports Vijay Sharma.

india Updated: Apr 10, 2007 11:28 IST

Lucknow District Magistrate Ramendra Tripathi and SSP Jyoti Narain refused to arrest the BJP President Rajnath Singh and Lalji Tandon when they 'surrendered' before them at the Hazratganj Police Station in Lucknow on Monday amidst slogan shouting by hundreds of BJP workers, who accompanied the two leaders to the police station in a procession from the party office.

Rajnath Singh and Tandon were informed by the DM and SSP that presently there was no evidence against them and there was no need for taking them into custody as investigations were in its initial stage in the named FIR lodged against them by the chief electoral officer Anuj Bishnoi in connection with the controversial CD released by the state BJP in Lucknow on Tuesday.

On the insistence of the BJP leaders, particularly Venkaih Naidu and Rajnath Singh, the SSP later announced before the media that presently there was no evidence against the two BJP leaders and as such there was no need for the arrest. He said that the two leaders would be summoned, if so needed, after collection of evidence. SSP Jyoti Narain said that the two CDs made available to the police were being sent to the forensic lab to confirm whether the two were same or different. A team had also gone to Saharanpur to interrogate producer/director, script-writer and others involved in production of the CD.

Former Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani, former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, Anant Kumar Singh, Venkaih Naidu, Keshri Nath Tripathi, Balbir Punj and Kalraj Mishra accompanied Rajnath Singh and Tandon at the time of 'surrender'.

Senior BJP leaders travelled in an open jeep while hundreds of slogan-shouting party workers led the procession right from the party office to the police station, bringing traffic on Vidhan Sabha Marg, Hazratganj and other connecting roads, to a grinding halt for over two hours, causing inconvenience to people. Panicky traders downed their shutters in busy Hazraganj, Janpath and other neighbouring markets.

Earlier, addressing the party workers at the BJP office before proceeding to 'surrender', Advani condemned the named FIR lodged against the party president and said that Rajnath Singh was not even aware about the CD, neither was he present in Lucknow when the CD was released. He said that all parties had joined hands in demanding de-recognition of the BJP to force it out from the electoral battle and regretted that all the parties were playing dirty politics.

Venkaiha Naidu demanded withdrawal of the FIR and an apology from the Election Commission.

Rajnath Singh said that people were fed up with so-called secular parties and forces and that was the main reason for the BJP's success in Bihar, Punjab, Uttaranchal, and in the Delhi civic polls. All possible efforts were being made to keep the BJP out of the elections. How can the Election Commission de-recognise the BJP when people were 'recognising' it in a big way, asked Rajnath Singh and said that the CD was only a ploy and part of a conspiracy while the real game plan and intention was to prevent the BJP from contesting the elections.

The Commission had no right to defame or tarnish the image of any individual, he said, condemning the FIR naming him without any inquiry or investigation, and alleged that it was done for cheap popularity and preconceived notions. Dubbing the notice for derecognition of the BJP as mockery, he regretted that no action had been taken against those who openly sold party tickets in the election. The BJP would always oppose religion-based reservation, he added.

He announced that the BJP would oppose anybody who opposed the reciting of 'Vande Matram' and asked as to who gave the right to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to allow any community to have first right on the country's resources.