BJP takes on UPA, Sonia, on price rise, Maoist violence (Roundup)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

PATNA - The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sunday ended its two-day national executive meeting with a scathing attack on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government and its chairperson Soni Gandhi for failing to control rising prics, increased Maoist violence and the handling of the Bhopal gas tragedy case.

A rally at the end of the national executive meet witnessed an all round attack by BJP speakers on the UPA.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who was focus of attention at the rally due to the row over an advertisement Saturday which triggered an angry response from Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, steered clear of the controversy.

Nitish Kumar had said that the advertisement, showing him and Modi holding aloft their hands, had been issued without his permission and threatened promised legal action against the agency.

Modi in his speech made no mention of Kumar but thanked the people of Bihar for “affections” showered on him.

He said that people from the state had prospered in Gujarat and had also contributed to his state’s progress by their hard work.

Modi said the BJP’s politics and ‘mantra’ (creed) was development and spoke of progress made by Gujarat under the party’s rule.

The Gujarat chief minister praised Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi for the development strides made by the state under the National Democratic Alliance government.

Using Sonia Gandhi’s “Maut ka Saudagar” (Merchant of Death) barb against her, Modi Sunday attacked the Congress president for her “silence” on the Bhopal verdict.

“Why are you quiet on Bhopal, Madam Sonia? The country wants to know who was the ‘Maut ka Saudagar’ in Bhopal,” Modi said.

“Speak up. Break your silence. The country wants to know what happened in Bhopal,” Modi added.

The BJP has been highly critical of the manner in former Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson was permitted to leave the country in the wake of the Dec 2-3, 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy that killed thousands instantly and many more in the years since.

A Bhopal court Monday sentenced seven former Union Carbide India Limited officials to two years imprisonment but they were immediately granted bail.

The “Maut..” barb was used by Gandhi in reference to Modi during her campaign for the Gujarat assembly polls in 2007. It referred to the 2002 communal riots in which over 1,000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed.

In his speech, BJP president Nitin Gadkari attacked the Congress for permitting Anderson to leave the country.

“What was the need to send him out of the country?” he asked.

In a resolution passed by the party at the meeting, BJP described the first year of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s second stint as disappointing, just like the “general unsatisfactory record” of UPA-I.

The party strongly criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying he had not been able to curb the price rise despite being an economist.

The BJP accused the government of being soft on terror and condemned the delay in clearing the file of parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

It said the first year of UPA-II showed the “inability of the prime minister” to take any action against “notorious cases of corruption”, referring to the 2G spectrum scam, and accused UPA ministers of “lobbying for IPL (Indian Premier League) franchise”.

In another resolution, the BJP accused the government of conducting “systematic manoeuvres to destabilize and derail” non-Congress or non-UPA state governments and especially targeting popular BJP chief ministers like Modi.

BJP veteran L. K. Advani, in his concluding remarks at the meeting, said the BJP and the erstwhile Jan Sangh had played a major role in fostering democracy in the country.

He said that the Congress government was not alive to the Chinese activities on the border in 1962 and added that there was a vast difference in the level of infrastructure in border areas between the two countries.

Party MP from Patna, Shatrughan Sinha, who had earlier indicated that he would not attend the rally, gave vent to his feelings.

“I fail to understand the way the party is being run. Senior leaders like Yashwant Sinha, B.C. Khanduri, Arun Shourie and Hema Malini are being cornered,” Sinha said, adding that the issue of BJP’s functioning should be raised at the party level.

The national executive meeting was attended by top BJP leaders like Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh, M. Venkaiah Naidu, Ananth Kumar and the chief ministers of BJP-ruled states.

The BJP is the junior partner in the NDA coalition in Bihar that is led by the Janata Dal-United (JD-U).

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