Staging a strong protest over Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's “saffron terror” remarks, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday said the comments were part of a conspiracy to divide the nation for votebank politics and demanded an apology.
Stepping up the attack on Shinde ahead of the Budget Session of Parliament starting tomorrow, BJP President Rajnath Singh questioned the home minister's intentions in making such a provocative statement.
"This comment of the home minister is part of a conspiracy to divide the nation for votebank politics," Singh said, addressing a large number of protesting party workers at Parliament Street.
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said the Congress was indulging in "communal polarisation" through such remarks.
"The Congress and UPA vote bank is contracting. Shinde wants to divide the nation on the basis of religion. They are trying to indulge in communal polarisation. The home minister made this statement with the intention of dividing the nation for votes and seek the votebank of a particular religion," Jaitley said, addressing the protesting partymen.
Jaitley questioned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on how they have allowed such a home minister, who is giving Pakistan a reason to say that India is running terror camps, to function.
Singh also questioned the intentions of Shinde to make such provocative comment and appealed to the countrymen "to understand the conspiracy behind making such a statement”.
He accused the Congress of doing vote bank politics and warned the government "not to play with the sentiments of people for the sake of votes."
"Don't think Indians as votes and vote banks," Singh said, adding that the Indian population will not allow such a thing.
Jaitley said the BJP has taken to the streets against Shinde for his remarks and unless he takes them back and make a public apology the party will not let him do politics.
Both Jaitley and Rajnath Singh dared the UPA to ban the BJP and RSS if they have any proof of the outfits running terror camps.
Singh lamented that the Congress was charging its own countrymen as terrorists and referred to the UNSC which suggested the involvement of Lashkar-e-Tayiba into the Samjahuta Express blast, Malegaon and Mecca Masjid blasts.
Jaitley said, "No one has ever dared to make such a comment against both BJP and RSS in this country. If there is any truth in such allegations, then the Centre should ban us."
He alleged that the home minister has given Pakistan an opportunity to say that India runs terror camps, which India has been accusing Pakistan of doing on its soil for so many years.
He said due to such comments of the home minister, "it is India which is a loser".
On government seeking support and cooperation of the Opposition during the difficult economic situation that the country is facing, Jaitley said, "How can you expect cooperation from those whom you charge of running terror camps. We will protest both outside and inside Parliament."
"Ahead of the Budget Session of Parliament, BJP is ready to take this fight to the streets. Take this wrong comment back and make a public apology, then only BJP will allow you to run politics," Jaitley said.
The protesting BJP leaders were detained by the police at Parliament Street Police station and let off after 10 minutes.