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BJP assails fatwa, vote-bank politics

Neena Vyas

"UPA Government practises minorityism"

  • Quota in violation of the criteria settled by Constitution
  • Clergy emboldened to issue directives aimed at intimidating women
  • Rich inheritance squandered by UPA Government

    CHENNAI: The Bharatiya Janata Party's political resolution adopted here on Saturday charged the United Progressive Alliance Government with practising "minorityism" to the extent that it could once again nurture the kind of Muslim separatism which led to the creation of Pakistan.

    The party said the Government was obsessed with vote-bank politics, that it revived religion-based reservation in education and employment — the reference was to the attempt to provide reservation to Muslims in Andhra Pradesh and create a 50 per cent quota for Muslims in Aligarh Muslim University — in violation of the criteria settled by the Constitution.

    "Minority appeasement"

    In the "atmosphere of minority appeasement" resulting from the UPA Government's vote-bank politics, Muslim clergy were emboldened to indulge in the "politics of fatwas," issuing directives aimed at intimidating women, it said.

    During the discussion on the political resolution on the second day of the national executive committee meeting, senior delegate Pyarelal Khandelwal wanted a few words added saying it was this kind of mentality that led to the two-nation theory propounded by Mohammad Ali Jinnah (Pakistan founder).

    "Feeble attempt"

    The addition was seen as a feeble attempt to revive the Jinnah controversy, which had embarrassed party president L.K. Advani, and was not accepted.

    The resolution launched an all-out attack on the UPA, accusing it of "incoherence, recklessness and drift," saying that "negativism" was its hallmark and charging it with "squandering the rich inheritance" bequeathed to the country by the Vajpayee Government.

    "Strategic veto"

    It covered much the same ground Mr. Advani dealt with in his presidential address on Friday. It spoke about the "overriding veto of the UPA chairperson [Sonia Gandhi] and her coterie," the "strategic veto" of the Left and the "blackmail of the tainted ministers" that marked decision-making in the UPA.

    While Mr. Advani described Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the weakest Prime Minister the country had had, the political resolution said "the Prime Minister, who did not wield authority even in his own Cabinet," was presiding over "this fractious combination" that was the UPA.

    Asked why the BJP had not evaluated its role as Opposition, party leader Sushma Swaraj, who released the resolution, said it would play effective Opposition. The resolution said the BJP would go to the people and "vigorously mobilise public opinion against the Government." She added the National Democratic Alliance headed by the party was "the alternative" to the UPA.

    Advani issue

    Asked about the timetable for Mr. Advani's exit as party president, an apparently displeased Ms. Swaraj said: "I have no information whether it will be in December or tomorrow."

    But could the BJP play its role when its president's authority stood undermined and his continuation was uncertain? Ms. Swaraj said, "No, his position is not undermined."

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