Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad's plea for clemency for Mohammed Afzal, who is set to hang on October 20 for the terror strike on Parliament, has snowballed into a major political controversy with the Bharatiya Janata Party seeking to pin down the Centre on the national security issue and the Congress seeking to distance itself from Azad's view.
The BJP said Azad's action shows that ruling Congress was "not serious" about fighting terror.
"Looking at the demands made by Ghulam Nabi Azad and the Congress, it becomes clear that the Congress is not serious about fighting terrorism," BJP chief Rajnath Singh told reporters.
He also slammed the Left for seeking a review of the death sentence awarded to Afzal.
"This shows, both of them (the Congress and the Left) treat the issue very lightly," the BJP leader remarked.
Earlier, party spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad demanded the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government clear its stand on demands for pardon to the Parliament attack convict.
"The apex court has awarded this punishment (to Afzal) after a three-tier judicial scrutiny. The exercise of power of pardon lies with the government. We would like to know what the government has to say about it," he said.
BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi condemned the mercy calls for Afzal saying "such voices show that the Congress and its supporters have a soft approach towards terrorists and separatists."
Congress said it neither endorsed nor rejected Azad's stand and skirted queries regarding whether the chief minister had "erred" in writing to the prime minister on the issue.