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PM, VHP acting in concert: Congress

Shahid K Abbas in New Delhi | February 14, 2003 02:32 IST

The Congress on Thursday attacked Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and accused him of "colluding with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad" in "subverting the law of the land".

Congress chief spokesman S Jaipal Reddy also said the Bharatiya Janata Party had "laid siege" to the National Democratic Alliance government, "which has now virtually become a BJP government in which the say of the NDA partners no more counts".

"Whatever happens between the government and the VHP has been projected as a matter of negotiation between the VHP and the government. But the fact of the matter is that both the NDA government and the VHP have been coordinating their efforts," Reddy said.

Apparently referring to the recent intervention of Union Human Resources Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi with VHP secretary general Praveen Togadia in connection with the latter's controversial remarks about mosques and the impending American attack on Iraq, Reddy said, "Mr Praveen Togadia has been pulled up not because he was untruthful, but because he was untidy in his utterances. The goals of the BJP and the VHP are absolutely identical even though their tactical methods may differ on occasion."

Claiming that it was clear that the VHP wants both the undisputed and disputed lands, Reddy pointed out that the  government had moved an application before the Supreme Court  for getting the former made available to the VHP. This application, he said, was prompted by "bad intentions". 

Insisting that the Congress remains opposed to any attempt by the government to undermine the rule of law, the spokesman told a questioner, "We have felt in the last two years that all the NDA partners have become dependents of the BJP and therefore they cannot be defenders of secularism within the NDA. The NDA partners do not matter [within the government] and even the noises of dissent they make are for the sake of record."

Responding to another question, Reddy said his party had full faith in the Supreme Court and "therefore we do not harbour too many fears [about the Ayodhya case]. But it is our duty to expose the dark deeds of the government and the designs behind those dark deeds."


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