Afzal Guru, sentenced to death for his role in the 2001 attack on Parliament, caught both the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party on the back foot on Monday by stating that only veteran BJP leader L K Advani could end his miseries by hanging him.
Coverage: Attack on Parliament
In an interview to a wire service, Afzal had claimed that indecisiveness on the part of the Congress government had been killing him. He charged the United Progressive Alliance government headed by Dr Manmohan Singh [Images] of playing a double game rather than deciding one way or the other in his case.
Responding to queries in this regard from media persons, Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natrajan said she was not aware of the authenticity of the interview.
"I have to verify before I make a comment," she said.
She further elaborated that Afzal's mercy plea was taking time because it had to go through the due process of law.
According to sources, the petition is still lying with the Union Home Ministry to be forwarded to President Pratibha Patil [Images].
Not willing to join the issue with the Congress, BJP demanded immediate implementation of the Supreme Court order upholding Afzal's punishment.
BJP spokesman Rajeev Pratap Rudy said: "The Congress should come out in the open with whether Afzal Guru's family has filed a petition with the President seeking a pardon."
"In case they want to be pardon him, they should go right ahead with it or otherwise hang him. Sarabjit Singh's wife has come out with nationalist statement saying that if the condition of release of her husband is linked to Afzal Guru, then she is ready to sacrifice her husband," Rudy claimed.