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BJP hits the roads seeking PM's apology, Shinde's exit

Last updated on: January 24, 2013 21:20 IST

BJP hits the roads seeking PM's apology, Shinde's exit

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Upping the ante, Bharatiya Janata Party on held protests in different parts of the country demanding the sacking of Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde for his Hindu terror remarks and declared it would raise the issue vociferously in Parliament as well.

BJP held protests in various parts of the country, including Delhi, Kolkata, Jammu, Bhopal and Mumbai.

Addressing a rally in New Delhi at Jantar Mantar, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said, "Saffron and terror are antonyms. The Home Minister should take back his words and apologise. Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should apologise and the PM should sack Shinde."

Swaraj said that instead of attacking Pakistan for running terror camps against India, the Home Minister has targeted BJP and alleged it is training terrorists.

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Image: sushma Swaraj addressing a protest meet at Jantar Mantar
Photographs: Courtesy BJP

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BJP hits the roads seeking PM's apology, Shinde's exit

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New BJP President Rajnath Singh, who also addressed the rally, declared that if Shinde is not removed, his party will continue to press for its demand in both Houses of Parliament in the forthcoming session.

The party also noted that government had given visa to Pakistan's women's cricket team at this juncture.

Swaraj said Shinde has alleged that RSS and BJP are involved in terror activities but when Congress leaders Mahipal Maderna, Gopal Kanda and Suresh Kalmadi were sent to jail, BJP never called Congress a "criminal organisation".

An unfazed Congress and government dismissed the BJP agitation as a "diversionary tactic".

"BJP's agitation is unwarranted, unnecessary. BJP does not have any issues against our government. That is why they are making this non-issue an issue," Union Minister V Narayanasamy said.

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Image: BJP President Rajnath Singh addressing the protest meet at Jantar Mantar
Photographs: Courtesy BJP

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BJP hits the roads seeking PM's apology, Shinde's exit

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Meanwhile, BSP supremo Mayawati called a press conference to condemn Shinde's statement and said it has angered Hindus.

"Shinde holds an important position in the government and the issue relates to his department. He should have made the statement based on the facts available to him, which he did not. He acted in haste which is not correct," she said.

Rejecting BJP's demand for an apology by Shinde on the issue, AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh asked the BJP President, its senior leader Lal Krishna Advani and Uma Bharti to apologise for speaking in favour of Pragya Thakur, the alleged mastermind in Malegaon and Modasa blast cases.

Singh also played the Dalit card in defence of Shinde asking whether BJP was trying to build this atmosphere "because they are not liking a Dalit Home Minister".

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Image: The BJP protest in Guwahati
Photographs: Courtesy BJP

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BJP hits the roads seeking PM's apology, Shinde's exit

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Party spokesperson Renuka Chowdhary said BJP is raising this issue to divert attention from its internal squables.

BJP leaders burned Shinde's effigy and strongly pressed for his resignation in their public meetings.

Swaraj said she had called up the National Security Advisor after the beheading of an Indian soldier and told him to inform the Prime Minister that the opposition would fully support any strong action taken against Pakistan.

Rajnath Singh said Congress, whose leaders refer to the JuD Chief as "Hafiz Saeed Saheb" and earlier to Al Qaeda head as "Osamaji", was not serious about fighting terror and saving this country from the menace.

"Shinde's comments have tarnished the image of India across the world. Sonia Gandhi's silence on the issue shows that she perhaps thinks her votebank will be strengthened by it. Shinde will have to go. No force can save him," he said.

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Image: The BJP rally in Hyderabad
Photographs: Courtesy BJP

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Addressing a protest rally in Jammu, BJP MP Shahnawaz Hussain said Shinde's remarks being appreciated by LeT founder Hafiz Saeed and Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik has pushed India on the back foot in its fight against terror.

In Bhopal, BJP MP Balbir Punj said his "irresponsible statement" has given Pakistan a weapon to attack India.

"There is no doubt that Shinde is batting for Pakistan, going by his irresponsible statement at the Congress conclave at Jaipur about the RSS and BJP running so called terrorist training camps," he told reporters.

In Kolkata, BJP leader Prakash Javadekar said due to Shinde's remarks there is "anger throughout the country and celebration in Pakistan".

 


Image: The BJP rally in Indore
Photographs: Courtesy BJP

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