BJP playing communal card: Sibal

Manmohan condemns violence in Assam; it’s vote-bank politics, says BJP

May 04, 2014 12:30 am | Updated October 18, 2016 02:16 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

The Congress on Saturday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of vitiating the environment by playing the “communal card,” even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned violence in Assam.Addressing a press conference here, Congress leader Kapil Sibal said “the credit for the present communal environment goes to Narendra Modi,” who, he added, “stands for Model of Dividing India.”

“I don’t blame anyone baselessly and without any proof,” Mr. Sibal said when asked whether he blamed Mr. Modi for the Assam riots.

“Creating a national divide by polarising the polity for political dividends has been the strategy of the BJP. Whenever they find that their chances of acceptability are at their nadir, they play the communal card. Mr. Advani did this by launching the Rath Yatra [in 1990] and the BJP played the communal card by being instrumental in demolishing the Babri Masjid. Mr. Modi did this by polarising the polity in Gujarat,” Mr. Sibal charged.

Releasing photographs allegedly taken from Twitter accounts of BJP leaders, Mr. Sibal said the pictures of events in Pakistan, Palestine and Bangladesh were being shown on these Twitter handles as occurring in India to communalise the atmosphere.

One such picture was from Bangladesh but the caption said Bangladeshi Muslims were burning the tricolour in Assam. The Congress also highlighted purported speeches of senior BJP leaders with strong communal overtones.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister, who is keeping a close watch on the Assam situation, spoke to Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and directed them to take urgent steps to restore normalcy in the disturbed areas.

Expressing “shock and grief” over the killings, a PMO statement said “such attacks are cowardly attempts to spread fear and terror among our citizens.” Dr. Singh asked the people to remain calm and ignore rumours as the Centre and the State Government would take all measures to maintain law and order and restore normality.

Condemning the violence, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad blamed the State government for not taking timely action. While demanding the arrest of the guilty, he blamed the tension in Assam on vote-bank politics.

“We have some questions for Manmohan Singh, who has been a member of the Rajya Sabha from Assam for 24 years and Premier for 10 years. Tarun Gogoi has been Chief Minister for 14 years. This is the third clash between Bodos and Bangladeshi immigrants,” Mr. Prasad said.

On Mr. Sibal’s charge that the riots were caused by Mr. Modi’s remark that Bangladeshi immigrants should pack their bags and be prepared to leave after May 16, Mr. Prasad said: “He (Sibal) will be back to practising law in a fortnight.”

Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat, too, attributed the attacks to the constant propaganda that all Muslims in Assam were Bangladeshis, especially, if they were Bengali Muslims.

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