Anita Joshua

“While whole world stands by India, principal opposition faults government”

BJP advertisement shows the party is desperate for votes

Why did Advani not accompany Manmohan to Mumbai?

NEW DELHI: The Congress on Friday charged the Bharatiya Janata Party with trying to “convert a national tragedy into a political opportunity.”

The Congress said the BJP was trying to make political capital out of the Mumbai terror attacks despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s offer to take Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani along with him to Maharashtra capital so that the political leadership of the country could present a united front against terror. “The whole world is standing with India in our hour of trial, but the principal Opposition party is finding fault with the government,” said the Congress.

Repeatedly clarifying that the Congress did not want to politicise the issue, the party said it was being forced to respond in the wake of critical advertisements placed in Delhi newspapers by the BJP and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s critique of Dr. Singh’s address to the nation.

“Petty politics”

Pointing out that the Congress never criticised any government — either at the Centre or in any State — after a terror attack, Union Minister for Science and Technology Kapil Sibal said the BJP was criticising the government right in the midst of the crisis. “This is the kind of petty politics indulged in by a man who nurses dreams of becoming the Prime Minister.”

Referring to the BJP’s advertisement “Fight Terror, Vote BJP,” Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said: “I know they are desperate for votes, but I wish they had waited. It would have been understandable had they come out with an advertisement lauding the sacrifice of the Anti-Terrorism Squad personnel whom they were criticising till Tuesday evening.”

Low-profile visit

About Mr. Modi’s presence at the Oberoi Trident during a rescue operation on Friday, senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily sought to point out that even the Prime Minister and Congress president Sonia Gandhi avoided the site when they went to Mumbai on Thursday evening.

“They wanted to keep the visit low profile and it was not a publicity campaign. We did not use the visit to the traumatised city as an instrument of political propaganda. Had Mr. Advani gone with the Prime Minister, it would have sent out a good message to the entire world that India was united in the face of terror. He ran away from the responsibility he should have shouldered as a national leader.”

Questioning the BJP’s patriotism, Mr. Moily said its leaders negotiated with hijackers in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and now the nation was paying the price for their sins. As for Mr. Modi’s announcement of Rs. 1 crore as compensation from the Gujarat government to the security personnel killed in the Mumbai rescue operations, Mr. Moily pointed out that the relief announced after the attack on the Akshardham Temple in 2002 had not yet been given by the State.

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