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Home > Election > Report

'What happened in 1984 was one-sided'

Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi | January 14, 2003 06:01 IST

Bharatiya Janata Party chief M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday lashed out at the Congress for its selective criticism of the Gujarat riots wherein it allegedly ignored Godhra while highlighting the events that followed in Ahmedabad.

"I take strong objection to the Congress party's stand that what happened (in Gujarat) was one-sided rioting. Also, by raising this issue even in the United States, the Congress has resorted to India-bashing," he alleged.

"The entire nation, except the Congress, is sad over the occurrence of the riots. The Congress is sad only about Ahmedabad, but is silent on Godhra," he said.

Referring to late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's statement that 'When a mighty tree falls, the earth shakes [after the assassination of his mother Indira Gandhi]', the BJP chief asked if the Congress had expressed regret over the 1984 anti-Sikh riots that followed.

"Does the Congress admit that Rajiv's statement was a mistake?" he asked.

"The 1984 Sikh riots were one-sided, but what happened in Gujarat were communal riots, which must be condemned," Naidu said.

Referring to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh's statement that the Congress slogan in the impending assembly elections would be Jhanda ooncha rahe hamara [Our flag will fly high], Naidu asked, "How can your flag fly high if you don't support the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), continue to oppose legislation against conversions and be silent about cross-border infiltration?"

Advising the opposition to abandon its 'pseudo-secular approach', the BJP chief said his party's poll campaign would highlight the issues of development and security.

Leaders of Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura had been called for a one-day conference on January 20 to decide the party's electoral strategy, he said

Naidu admitted that the BJP did not have a significant presence in the three northeastern states but would endeavour to spread its base.


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