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Sack Antulay, apologise to nation, demands BJP

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | December 24, 2008 22:50 IST
Last Updated: December 24, 2008 23:55 IST

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The Antulay controversy refused to die down on Wednesday with the Bharatiya Janata Party continuing its demand for sacking of the minister for his remarks on the circumstances leading to the death of Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare [Images].

 "The BJP demands that A R Antulay [Images] be sacked and the Congress apologise to the nation for this. If Manmohan Singh [Images] cannot firmly deal with an erring cabinet minister, to what extent can he be expected to deal firmly against terror," the BJP said in its resolution.

The BJP said that it would make the non-dismissal of Minority Affairs Minister A R Antulay one of its major issues in the forthcoming Lok Sabha election. He was speaking to newsmen during a meeting of the BJP's office bearers, attended by BJP president Rajnath Singh and the party's prime ministerial candidate L K Advani [Images].

 "It is indeed a matter of great irony that the United Progressive Alliance government and the Congress party failed to keep together the national resolve in the fight against terror, by remaining indecisive and politically paralysed in handling the unwarranted and totally uncalled for comments by Antulay, which raised unnecessary doubts about the killing of senior police officials," he said.
During the meeting, the party decided to entrust the responsibility of handling the national elections to former president M Venkaiah Naidu. Senior leader Arun Jaitley would be in charge of Uttar Pradesh [Images] while Shushma Swaraj would be in charge of Haryana and Punjab.   

The saffron party accused the Congress of being paralysed due to the compulsions of votebank politics and reiterated its stand that the government could not take a tough position on external linkages of terrorists while 'meekly surrendering to votebank politics' domestically.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had on Tuesday sought to let the matter be laid to rest after Home Minister P Chidambaram [Images] gave a statement in the Lok Sabha describing the controversy created by Antulay as 'highly regrettable'.

Refusing to relent, BJP said India could be seen as "unwilling or reluctant in the fight against terror" and said the Antulay episode reinforced the fact that "The United Progressive Alliance's DNA to fight terror is still suspect".

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