Communal politics and the Vajpayee government's 'non-performance' were leading the country to the 'verge of consequences too terrible to imagine', Left nominee for the presidential poll Laxmi Sehgal said on Tuesday.
"What has happened in Gujarat is difficult for us to blot out, what has happened to the image of our country in the world on this count is not easy to retrieve," the 87-year old veteran of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's Indian National Army told PTI in an interview while elaborating on her main poll plank.
Comparing the Gujarat violence with the communal holocaust during the partition, she said, in 1947, the riots broke out "spontaneously, primarily due to the mass migration of people from one place to another. But in Gujarat, it was not spontaneous. It was state-sponsored."
"This violence (in Gujarat) has created a major cleavage between the majority and minority communities," she said.
Reiterating her demand for imposition of President's Rule in Gujarat, Sehgal said, "Normally, we don't support imposition of central rule. But this was definitely a situation where Article 356 could have been invoked, which could have brought the violence under control much earlier and saved so many lives."
Asked why she thought putting up 'missile man' A P J Abdul Kalam would send a 'wrong message' to the world, Sehgal said, "The world today is striving for disarmament, especially in the fields of nuclear weapons and missiles knowing the danger they pose."
"India is looked upon as a land of non-violence and non-alignment. Appointing an eminent missile technologist (as President) at this point of time will send the wrong signals, particularly when we have our troops positioned on the border with Pakistan," she said.
On evolving a consensus for the presidential poll, the octogenarian freedom fighter said, "The government failed on that point. It did not take political parties into confidence and tell them what its game plan was."
To a question as to why she agreed to contest as a Left candidate knowing that they have had serious differences with Subhash Chandra Bose and the INA, Sehgal, who fought the British in the jungles of Myanmar for 18 months in 1944-45, said, "They used to call us fascists as we had allied with Japan and Germany."
"But after the united Communist Party of India (CPI) split in 1964, they tried to understand what made us make such moves and realised that independence was the only goal."
The 11th President of India: Complete Coverage
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