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EC notice to Sonia under our pressure: BJP
December 09, 2007 20:41 IST
The BJP on Sunday claimed the Election Commission issued notice to Congress President Sonia Gandhi [Images] under its pressure and said her "merchant of death" remarks, which was "patently violative" of the model code of conduct, will be a campaign issue.
"It appears as if finally our pressure on the Election Commission, which was taking unilateral action against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi [Images] has paid off," senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said.
He said the Election Commission is now showing "even- handedness in issuing notices to Gandhi and Digvijay Singh because after all these are the two people, especially Sonia, who started off" the verbal duel.
Party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad welcomed the EC decision and said "we expect an objective decision would be taken at the earliest in the light of the statement by Sonia, which we feel is patently violative of the model code of conduct".
On the Congress flip-flop on Sonia's controversial remarks, he said while Union Minister Kapil Sibal sought to deflect her statement, saying she did not refer to Modi, party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi has owned it up and even said it was a modest comment.
"Once the statement is owned up, we would like to see the Election Commission taking appropriate decision on the matter at the earliest," he said.
Asked whether the BJP would raise the Congress president's remarks during campaigning, he said, "The utterances of Gandhi was an issue to be discussed. It is a political issue."
Lashing out at the Congress, Prasad said Sonia's "merchant of death" comment only showed the "sheer arrogance" of the party as it came against an elected government.
On the notice issued to Modi, he said the Gujarat chief minister has already clarified to the Election Commission that the statements attributed to him in newspapers did not find mention in the CD sent by the poll body.
"Modi has clearly stated that he has never justified fake encounters," he added.
Asked about the EC decision to issue notice to senior party leader V K Malhotra, he said, "If there is a notice, a reply will be given."
He also came down heavily on social activist Teesta Seetalvad and lyricist Javed Akthar, who had petitioned the Election Commission and Supreme Court respectively seeking action against Modi for his comments on Sohrabuddin.
"They had not uttered a word about the violence in Nandigram [Images]. They also turn a blind eye towards the plight of Kashmiri Pandits. They only speak about Gujarat. Their commitment to secularism is spurious," he alleged.
Prasad dubbed as "politically sponsored" Sohrabuddin Sheikh's brother Rubabuddin's claim that he was receiving threatening calls.