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Is BJP milking the CD issue?
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | April 10, 2007 19:54 IST
The question was doing rounds in political circles in Lucknow, particularly in the light of BJP stalwart and former Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani's candid admission that he saw nothing wrong in taking political mileage out of the CD, that contains objectionable material aimed at inciting "anti-Muslim communal passions."
Advani had told a press conference in Lucknow on Monday afternoon, "If someone was being stupid, then what do you expect us to do -- sit pretty and not cash on it?" He declared, "Well, we are bound to take every political advantage of such a situation."
However, despite the hype on the issue that provoked top party leaders to air-dash to Lucknow, BJP was unable to put up a formidable show. A bunch of barely 2000-3000 party workers converged at the BJP state headquarters from where party chief Raj Nath Singh drove down to the nearby Hazratganj police station to court arrest.
Along with UP BJP veteran Lalji Tandon, party national chief Rajnath Singh was named in the first information report lodged by the Election Commission in the CD affair.
A Hazratganj shopkeeper, who was worried that the demonstration would paralyse the town, remarked, "Surprisingly , BJP supporters were outnumbered by the police."
Clearly, there was very little local participation even from the trader community among whom BJP was generally considered to enjoy a very large following.
Asked to comment on the "unimpressive" turnout, Lalji Tandon observed, "We did not have any political motive, so we never made any attempt to mobilise crowds."
Many believe that there was a definite design behind the CD episode. "Who would believe on the top BJP leadership's plea that were totally ignorant about the CD that was released along with a bunch of other publicity material at a special function at the BJP state headquarter by one other than Lalji Tandon", asked Congress spokesman Akhilesh Singh.
Bahujan Samaj Party General Secretary Satish Misra dared the BJP leaders to give an undertaking that if the party's hand was proved behind the CD, they would accept de-recognition of the party.
"If they are really honest about having nothing to do with the CD why don't they let the matter be investigated by an independent agency so that if the party's involvement is proved, then they accept de-recognition", observed Misra while throwing the gauntlet at BJP.
Misra said, "I have reason to believe that there was a design behind the whole CD episode; but I am sure that the secular people of this state will not allow BJP to achieve its ultimate objective by resorting to such shameful practice."
While on one hand BJP bigwigs were asserting that they had nothing whatsoever to do with the blasphemous CD, on the other, they were leaving no stone unturned to escalate the issue, evidently with the hidden objective to polarise the Hindu vote.
Flatly refuting the charge, state BJP president Keshrinath Tripathi sought to make a counter allegation against the party rivals. "We do not play the politics of vote; it is Congress and Samajwadi Party who have been thriving by blatantly pursuing the policy of minority appeasement," he charged.