Notwithstanding assurances from Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his deputy Lal Kishenchand Advani, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday indicated that it would raise the issue of the killings in Godhra during electioneering in Gujarat.
"Besides the issue of development and other achievements of the state government, terrorism versus pseudo-secularism will also be a poll plank," BJP parliamentary party spokesman Vijay Kumar Malhotra said in New Delhi.
He announced that the BJP parliamentary party had met in the morning and asked all its members to participate in the election campaign.
He said, "The Congress has based its campaign on communalism and the violence-related incidents in Gujarat.
"It would therefore be necessary for the BJP to counter the Congress campaign on the plank of 'nationalism versus jihadi terrorism' and 'patriotism versus pseudo-secularism'," he claimed.
Asked how it viewed the attack in Godhra since it had decided to make terrorism an election issue, he said the BJP had the "same yardstick for both".
Malhotra said the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's charge that Advani had himself become a pseudo-secularist was in haste and they not understood the context in which the comment was made.
On Monday, the deputy prime minister had said in Parliament that Indian could never be a Hindu state.
What Advani meant was that "in Hindu ethos there is no concept of a theocratic state", explained Malhotra.
"The Sangh Parivar also does not believe in having a theocratic state," he said in response to a question.
Taking exception to the manner in which some Congress members had tried to deny in the Lok Sabha that there were starvation deaths in the states ruled by their party, he said, "They are passing the buck to the central government."
He also expressed unhappiness over the manner in which Samajwadi Party member Devendra Singh Yadav had manhandled Bahujan Samaj Party leader Rashid Alvi in the Lok Sabha early in the day.
"Though Speaker Manohar Joshi has given a stern warning to the concerned member, it is regrettable that the prestige of the august House has been lowered to such a degree."
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