'Rushdie drama exposes Cong's communal vote bank politics'
Against the backdrop of the cancellation of video address by controversial writer Salman Rushdie at the Jaipur Literature Festival, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday said the entire episode had exposed the "worst communal vote-bank politics" of Congress.
The main opposition party also accused the Congress of trying to impose Internet censorship. "Rushdie episode has exposed Congress for its worst communal vote-bank politics...the move to ask four authors to pack up and leave Jaipur was also an attack on freedom of speech," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said at a media briefing in New Delhi.
"The attempt to block the video link also must be viewed from vote-bank politics angle. It also exposed Congress of its real intentions to impose censorship on Internet communication," he added.
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Image: The video chat of author Salman Rushide was cancelled at the Jaipur Lit Fest on Tuesday
'The entire episode was pre-planned'
Javadekar alleged that the Congress has "stooped very low for communal vote-bank politics" ahead of Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh as it wants to wriggle out of the controversy over the killing of members of the minority community in the police firing in Rajasthan recently.
"The way some demonstrators were allowed to reach the festival pandal shows that the episode was pre-planned as the state government had claimed that there was ample security for the ongoing festival," he alleged.
The BJP leader said his party condemns "this crass communal vote-bank politics" of the Congress and wondered why the so-called brigade of champions of freedom of expression is silent on this issue.
Image: Muslims offer prayers at the Jama Masjid mosque before protesting against author Salman Rushdie in Jaipur
'Raj govt has not right to stop Rushdie video chat'
Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Tuesday criticised the Ashok Gehlot-led government in Rajasthan for not allowing controversial author Salman Rushdie to address participants at the Jaipur Literature Festival via video link. He said the state government had no right to regulate any mode of telecommunication, as it falls in the Central list.
"In the matter of Salman Rushdie, first by producing a false report, he was misdirected to not visit the country, and now, I have been reading in newspapers that he may or may not be able to hold a video conference. I believe that the state government has no right under any law to stop him from holding a video conference," Jaitley told the media in Jalandhar.
He said this sent out a wrong message. "When any government bows to the demands of fundamentalists and hardliners, it sends out a bad message for the government and the political administration," Jaitley added.
Rushdie had to cancel his scheduled visit to the festival in Jaipur over security fears.
First, the proposed trip evoked protests from Muslim groups over his banned novel The Satanic Verses, which was published in 1988, and then there were alleged threats from the underworld.
Image: Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley