Shekhawat’s life an open book: Sushma

Special Correspondent

Questions Left role during freedom movement, Chinese aggression

No formal communication from UNPA

Meeting with Kalam a courtesy call

NEW DELHI: Strongly reacting to an editorial in the CPI(M) organ, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj has said whatever service records she produced in defence of the National Democratic Alliance-backed Presidential candidate Bhairon Singh Shekhawat was in response to the disinformation being spread against him.

While denying that Mr. Shekhawat was suspended from police service, she produced documents to show that he joined the force in 1942 and resigned as sub-inspector in 1948.

“As far as his character is concerned, he has been in public life since 1952. All of those 55 years have been an open book. Today, he is the seniormost living legislator,” Ms. Swaraj, who is the spokesperson of the Presidential candidate, said here on Friday.

The People’s Democracy editorial asked: “What does it mean to serve the police force in this period and leave the service with a discharge note commending the performance soon after our Independence? Is Ms. Swaraj aware of what she is attributing to Mr. Shekhawat as serving the police force and acting against the Indian freedom movement?”

Ms. Swaraj countered: “What has been the role of the Left parties during the Quit India Movement in 1942 and at time of the Chinese aggression in 1962? They refused to even recognise China as an attacker. Those who live in glasshouses should not throw stones at others.”

On Thursday’s meeting of BJP leaders Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Rajnath Singh and Jaswant Singh with President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Ms. Swaraj said: “It was a courtesy call. The presidential issue was not discussed.”

‘All channels open’

To a question, she said the NDA had not received any formal communication from leaders of the newly launched United National Progressive Alliance on their support to Mr. Shekhawat. Though there were reports that Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh conveyed his “inability” to extend support, the NDA did not receive any formal reply. “All channels are open.”

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