Special Correspondent

BJP will vociferously plead against mercy for Afzal

  • Party may raise adjournment motion on internal security
  • Blames Centre, Delhi Government for traders' woes

    NEW DELHI: Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee's interactions with the leadership of political parties ahead of the winter session of Parliament got off to a start when a four-member group of the National Democratic Alliance met him over breakfast here on Saturday.

    The group led by Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani made it clear that internal security issues would be a top priority for the Opposition. The first day would be "devoted" to the Bharatiya Janata Party's demand that no leniency be shown to Mohammad Afzal, sentenced to death in the Parliament attack case.

    BJP leaders do not rule out the party pressing this issue to the point of its not allowing Parliament to function. It will simultaneously organise a demonstration outside Parliament demanding that Afzal's clemency appeal be rejected.

    It seems the BJP is planning an adjournment motion on internal security issues, although it has not made a clear statement.

    The Speaker let the Opposition leaders know that subject to procedural rules and time, he would accommodate the issues they raised.

    Quota for Muslims

    The issues the BJP prioritised earlier at a meeting at the house of the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee included terrorism, internal security, concern at reservation for Muslims, prices and inflation especially the demand that prices of petroleum products be reduced, and farmers' problems including suicide.

    The controversy over sealing of shops in residential areas in Delhi also figured in the discussion. While the BJP has been blaming the Congress Government in Delhi and the Centre for the problems in the capital, the party leadership has also been unhappy with the totally legalistic view taken by the judiciary.

    Both sides described the 75-minute meeting with the Speaker as "cordial."

    The Speaker has invited Congress leaders for dinner on Sunday, and leaders of the Left parties and those supporting the UPA, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party for breakfast on Monday.

    More In: Today's Paper