A day after his formal election as Bharatiya Janata Party president, Rajnath Singh led a rally against the recent remarks of Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde that the BJP and RSS were spearheading ‘Hindu terror’, and warned that unless the Minister apologised, his party would not allow Parliament to function.
Reports of aggressive demonstration by BJP workers in several States suggest that the change of guard at the top level level has breathed some life into the party rank and file that was finding it difficult to pin down the Congress on the plank of corruption after the firm headed by Nitin Gadkari came under a cloud.
While Mr. Shinde’s remarks was the only theme at the rally, Mr. Singh, in an informal interaction with reporters later, talked vaguely of the disenchantment of people with the political class and need for introspection by political parties.
Hitting out at Mr. Shinde for his alleged reference to Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief as “Hafiz Saeed Saheb” and earlier to al-Qaeda head as “Osamaji,” Mr. Singh alleged that the government was not serious about fighting terror and saving the country from the menace.
“Mr. Shinde’s comments have tarnished the image of India across the world.... Sonia Gandhi’s silence on the issue shows that she perhaps thinks her vote bank will be strengthened by it... Shinde will have to go. No force can save him,” Mr. Singh said.
Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said, “Saffron and terror are antonyms. The Home Minister should take back his words and apologise...Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should apologise and the PM should sack Mr. Shinde.”
Ms. Swaraj alleged at a rally at Jantar Mantar that the Congress always distanced itself from controversial comments made by its own government leaders. Instead of attacking Pakistan for running terror camps against India, the Minister has targeted the main Opposition party in the country, she said.
Mr. Shinde had alleged that the RSS and the BJP were involved in terror activities but when Congress leaders Mahipal Maderna, Gopal Kanda and Suresh Kalmadi were sent to jail, the BJP never called the Congress a criminal organisation, she said.