With the issue of nationalism dominating the political discourse, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday announced a three-day programme to commemorate Bhagat Singh's martyrdom and attacked the Congress over its MP Shashi Tharoor's remarks comparing Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union leader Kanhaiya Kumar with the freedom fighter.
Seeking an apology from the Congress and Tharoor, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the opposition party may have distanced itself from its MP's comments but it was not adequate as he had not withdrawn it or expressed regret.
"What is Congress doing? For 12 years, it opposed Modi, for two years, it opposed development (under Modi), then it gave respectability to anti-India slogans raised in the JNU and now insulting martyrs has become the identity of Congress under Rahul Gandhi," he told the media at a party briefing.
He alleged that Congress chose to insult martyrs two days before their martyrdom day, a reference to hanging of Rajguru and Sukhdev besides Singh on March 23, 1931, by the British.
Tharoor said so with an eye on Kerala assembly polls, Javadekar alleged.
BJP leaders across the country will pay tribute to the three martyrs tomorrow, sing Singh's favourite song 'Rang de basanti chola' on Holi the day after and, on the last day, burn effigies of the "mindset that insults martyr", Javadekar said.
"There is "anger" among people across the country over the episode and the BJP will express it through the exercise," he said.
Referring to reports that Kanhaiya's posters have been used by some Congress leaders in Assam polls, he said it showed that the opposition party had no role model left and was depending on "borrowed pictures". "Their role models have failed. It is political bankruptcy of the Congress."
There could be no comparison between the JNU leader and Singh as the former is accused of glorifying Afzal Guru, who was convicted of helping foreign terrorists in attacking Parliament, while the latter chose gallows in his fight against foreign invaders, he said.