Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement that the non-resident Indians could vote in the next general elections as a “thought made in haste,” Rashtriya Swabiman Andolan convener K.N. Govindacharya said on Saturday.

The issue needed to be discussed on a wider canvas, he told reporters here.

Mr. Govindacharya, a one-time BJP ideologue, said the issue should be handled on a case-by-case basis. He explained how the changes made in the provisions of the People of Indian Origin Act in 2003, when the National Democratic Alliance was in power, enabled persons like Congress president Sonia Gandhi to gain Indian citizenship. “Such ad hoc observations on a serious issue like giving voting rights to 10 crore NRIs was not expected from the Prime Minister.”

Mr. Govindacharya termed the BJP’s alliance with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha unethical. It is a “sign of desperation in the party that it cannot survive without power.”

The recent decisions of the BJP leadership proved that the party had drifted from the wider objectives on which it was built, and it had become a party of candidates for power and electoral machinery, he said.

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