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'Congress tactics obstructionist'

By K.V. Prasad

HOSUR Dec. 13. The Bharatiya Janata Party national president, M. Venkaiah Naidu, today assailed the Congress for its "obstructionist tactics and confrontationist attitude" and deplored its unwillingness to introspect in spite of the "massive" defeat in the recent Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

Talking to presspersons here before the start of the two-day (Dec.13 and 14) State executive committee meeting of the BJP, he said the Congress was unwilling to learn from its reverses and continued to indulge in "negative politics."Mr. Naidu's criticism of the Congress came in the context of the Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, Najma Heptullah, walking out of the House on Friday, objecting to the remarks made by the Congress member, Kapil Sibal.

"Normally, members stage a walkout. In this case, the Deputy Chairperson was forced to stage one and even adjourn the House owing to the Congress attitude," he said. The party caused obstruction even on trivial issues and it was time it realised the harm it inflicted on itself.

Instead of gracefully accepting defeat in the elections, it tried to "lure" BJP MLAs into defecting in Chhattisgarh.

"It amounts to thwarting the verdict of the people." Then, it accused the BJP of winning the polls with money power. "Does it not amount to insulting the voters," he asked.

Focus on south

Stating that the State executive would take stock of the BJP's prospects, Mr. Naidu said that in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, "you will see a lot of the BJP's activity in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. This will be an essential part of our Mission 2004, to achieve our target of 300 seats for the BJP and two-thirds majority for the party and its allies.""Our theme is a strong BJP for a strong India and our agenda, speedy development and equitable development."

Strains with DMK

Even as he asserted the BJP's stand that it would take all its allies along, Mr. Naidu felt that the continuing estrangement with the DMK in Tamil Nadu was "not good" and that there was a need to resolve it at the earliest.

However, referring to the DMK's planned protest against the Centre (on issues including the Prevention of Terrorism Act), he said that "asking was different from protesting." Even as he defended the DMK president, M. Karunanidhi, saying he had asked his MPs not to take part in the protest, Mr. Naidu said that the "people will not digest a party that opposes the Government despite being in it." Asked if the BJP digested it, he only reiterated that the people would not.Claiming that "we are responsive to their (DMK) grievances," Mr. Naidu, however, asserted that scrapping of POTA was not the solution. "It cannot be scrapped just because some State Governments misused it. Can the Indian Penal Code be scrapped on the grounds of misuse," he asked.

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