Atiq Khan

Failure would have triggered a post-Babri Masjid-like situation: Mayawati

‘Not necessary to be a mother to understand maternal love’

Varun booked under NSA after EC go-ahead

LUCKNOW: Taking her fight over the Varun Gandhi issue to Bharatiya Janata Party MP Maneka Gandhi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Saturday said she was well aware of the pain of crores of mothers, whereas Ms. Gandhi understood only her son’s distress.

It was not necessary for one to be a mother to understand what maternal love was, Ms. Mayawati said in an official statement.

The BSP president was reacting to Ms. Gandhi’s comments, accusing Ms. Mayawati of not realising the trauma faced by a mother.

Pointing out that mothers also had the responsibility of inculcating the right values in their children, Ms. Mayawati said had Ms. Gandhi done so, Mr. Gandhi would not have found himself behind bars.

Defending the government’s decision to file cases against Mr. Gandhi for his hate speeches, Ms. Mayawati said had timely action not been taken by the Pilibhit administration, a situation similar to the one seen in the aftermath of the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992 would have been replicated. She blamed the Ayodhya incident on the “inflammatory speeches” delivered by L.K. Advani and other BJP leaders.

Ms. Mayawati said the decision to book Mr. Gandhi under the National Security Act was taken by the district administration after getting the go-ahead from the Election Commission. She slammed the BJP for enacting a “drama” on the Varun issue.

Ms. Mayawati assailed the Congress and Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh also for criticising the government’s decision. She said Mr. Singh’s criticism of the government invoking the NSA against Mr. Gandhi proved that the SP and the BJP were “hand in glove” on the issue.

Rajnath may visit Varun

Neena Vyas reports from New Delhi:

BJP president Rajnath Singh will try to visit Mr. Gandhi, who is the party’s candidate in Philibit, on Monday.

Although the Etah district administration has not allowed visitors — Ms. Maneka Gandhi was refused a visit on Friday — Mr. Singh, party leaders said, would try to defy it in spite of the deployment of a large police force outside the jail.

A number of senior party leaders from Uttar Pradesh will also be there. While the BJP does not have a strong presence in Etah, it could ferry workers from nearby districts. A few days ago senior BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu visited Mr. Gandhi and a decision was taken by Mr. Singh to call on him after discussions with Mr. Naidu.

There is a view in the party that the Varun episode, which has raised the communal temperature in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the five-phase poll in the State, could help to polarise votes and enable the BJP sail through in 5-7 constituencies which it may otherwise lose by small margins.

But another section is of the view that this would take away from the BJP’s “good governance” and “development” plank and bring back fears of rioting and disruption of normal life.

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