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Cricket, diplomacy should be separate: BJP

Last updated on: March 31, 2011 15:14 IST

Cricket, diplomacy should be separate: BJP

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The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday said cricket and diplomacy between India and Pakistan should be kept separate and the game should allowed to remain a game.

"Let the game be a game. Dialogue diplomacy should be separated from cricket," senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj told reporters at the party's headquarters in Chennai.

She described Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's invitation to his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani to watch Wednesday's semi-final encounter between the two countries at Mohali as a "thing of the past."

When pressed for her party's reaction, the opposition leader in the Lok Sabha said sports and diplomacy should be kept separate.

Insisting that cricket should be allowed to remain a game, Swaraj said the hype over the match, which India won by 29 runs, was 'not desirable'.


Image: Fans hold an Indian flag in front of an electronic scoreboard
Photographs: Getty Images
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'Jaitley wouldn't have said anything like that'

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On the WikiLeaks controversy over her party colleague and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley's reported comment that BJP was using Hindutva as an opportunistic tool, Swaraj said Jaitley was not the kind of leader to make such remarks.

"Arunji (Jaitley) has denied it. I know him from the ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad) days...He wouldn't have said anything like that. The assessment by the (United States) diplomat is absolutely wrong," she said.


Image: BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley

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Swaraj speaks on WikiLeaks allegations

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WikiLeaks cables had reported that Robert Blake, Charge d'Affaires at the US Embassy, had conveyed to his government, after a meeting with Jaitley on May 6, 2005, that "Jaitley argued that Hindu nationalism will always be a talking point for the BJP. However, he characterised this as an opportunistic issue."

Jaitley has maintained he had not used the word 'opportunistic'. Swaraj, who is also in-charge of party affairs in Tamil Nadu, expressed confidence that BJP can return an 'impressive' number of legislators to the assembly after the April 13 elections.


Image: A file photo of BJP headquarters

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'DMK is utterly mistaken'

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She said anti-incumbency and Tamil people's 'positive feeling' over some of the issues raised by BJP in Parliament would augur well for the party.

Slamming the DMK for offering freebies as part of its poll promises, she said, "If the rulers (DMK) think freebies can counter the 2G spectrum scam in which former telecom minister A Raja (of DMK) has been jailed, they are utterly mistaken."

Referring to the party's exit from BJP-led National Democratic Alliance 'at the last hour' after the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, she described the DMK as 'opportunistic'.


Image: Former telecom minister A Raja
Photographs: Reuters
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