Shahid K Abbas in New Delhi
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday described the Election Commission's order banning religious rallies as 'inappropriate'.
Party president Venkaiah Naidu said, "In a democracy people must have the right and liberty of speech, to movement and to reach out to people. Any restriction in this regard is not a positive thing and the decision of the CEC to ban the VHP yatra at best can be described as inappropriate."
Later, addressing the media, party spokesman Arun Jaitley said, "Whether the party agrees or disagrees with anyone is a moot question. But can anyone's right be encroached in such a manner?"
But he said the Narendra Modi government would abide by the EC order.
Claiming the 1984 and the 1998 Lok Sabha elections were fought on the 'pyre of assassinated Prime Minister Indira Gandhi' and on the 'portraits of slain priest Graham Staines' respectively, Jaitley wondered how the criticism of the Gujarat Gaurav Yatra could be justified.
Claiming that the EC objection appears to be on the references to the Godhra incident, Jaitley alleged that the same objection does not appear to apply to the other condemnable incidents that took place in other parts of Gujarat.
Jaitley said, "The BJP has been noting with concern several recent statements made by the Chief Election Commissioner and communications of the Election Commission. The party has consciously attempted not to join issue even when the statements undermined the credibility of an august institution like the Election Commission."
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