Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday said it would review the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project if it returned to power at the Centre.

To persistent queries, national president Rajnath Singh told a press conference here that “Ramar Sethu must be protected at any cost.” As for re-alignment of the channel, he said the party, on coming to power, would undertake a complete review of the project.

Referring to the Centre’s submission before the Supreme Court that Ramar Sethu did not qualify for being declared a national monument, Mr. Singh said the government should change the parameters to cover Ramar Sethu.

Adverting to possible adverse consequences of the project on fishermen, he said their interests should be protected.

Asked how the BJP could recapture power when some allies were no longer with the party, Mr. Singh expressed confidence that “a number of friends are coming [back] to us.” The process had already begun and it would “mature” within a month or two. He also indicated that there would be “some pre-poll alliances and some post-poll alliances.”

On the BJP’s ties with the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Mr. Singh said the possibility of its aligning with the AIADMK could not be ruled out.

He dismissed as baseless Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati’s criticism (in the wake of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government’s victory in the trust vote in the Lok Sabha last week) that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance had aligned with the UPA to prevent a Dalit’s daughter from becoming Prime Minister.

On the recent bomb blasts in Jaipur, Bangalore and Ahmedabad, the BJP president said some experts pointed to a conspicuous pattern and observed that terrorists had made the BJP-ruled States their prime target. “By targeting the BJP-ruled States, the terrorists will not succeed in their efforts at intimidating the BJP to dilute its war against terrorism.”

Federal agency

Supporting the idea of forming a federal investigation agency against terror, he called for a stringent law to meet the challenge posed by terrorists, in addition to strengthening the intelligence network and making security forces better equipped and trained.

On the firing on the Line of Control in northern Kashmir, Mr. Singh said the party took serious note of the sudden surge in ceasefire violations on the LoC. His party was apprehensive of Pakistan’s intentions and the UPA government’s diplomatic skills to ensure peace and stability in the region.

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