Saturday, April 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

BJP returns to ‘Hindutva’
Backs Modi, advises him fresh mandate  *  PM slams Muslim

Satish Misra
Tribune News Service

Panjim, April 12
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s National Executive gave a clean chit to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, unanimously rejecting his resignation offer and advising him to seek a fresh mandate from the state’s electorate at a time of his own choice.

The unanimous resolution, adopted at an emergency meeting of the party executive this evening, said: “Instead of accepting his resignation, the National Executive advises him to seek dissolution of the Assembly, go to the people and seek their verdict”.

BJP President K. Jana Krishnamurthi said the Congress had crossed all limits when it asked its Chief Ministers to go on an agitation to demand the resignation of a popularly elected BJP government in the state.

A security personnel keeps vigil
A security personnel keeps vigil on the sea side of Hotel Marriot in Panaji on Friday. — PTI photo

A frustrated Congress had resorted to this unconstitutional method, a visibly angry Krishnamurthi said, adding that “it was a double-edged sword and we can also play it”.

Asked if the BJP had rejected its allies like the TDP’s demand for changing the Gujarat Chief Minister, Mr Krishnamurthi avoided a direct reply, saying that “neither we have rejected the allies nor have they rejected us”.

The BJP, by accepting Mr Modi’s line totally, has shed even its pretensions of secularism and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s assertion at a public meeting earlier today was the beginning of a new course which could be termed as return to its “Hindutva agenda” and from here on, there is no going back for the time-being.

Mr Vajpayee today took his friends and foes by surprise when he literally dropped a bombshell, publicly accusing a section of the minority community “not wanting to live together and wanting to propagate their view with terror and fear”.

Addressing a well-attended public rally a few weeks before the Assembly elections in Goa, Mr Vajpayee said “Muslims ghul mil kar rahna nahin chahte, atank aur bhay se apna mat prachar karna chahte hain” (Muslims do not want to live together with others. They want to propagate their view with terror and fear).

Almost reflecting the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s view on the communal riots in Gujarat, Mr Vajpayee dropped his secular mask and said while post-Godhra violence was condemnable “we must know who was behind the killing of innocent children, women and other passengers in Sabarmati Express at Godhra.”

But for the conspiracy to burn the passengers of Sabarmati alive, the tragedy in Gujarat could have been averted, Mr Vajpayee said in almost a direct message to his NDA allies. State agencies and the government were trying to find out the culprits but “we must know who had ignited the communal fire”, the Prime Minister said.

Mr Vajpayee’s statement today is being interpreted as a beginning of the party’s electoral recovery programme with emphasis on its Hindutva votebank.

The Prime Minister has made clear to his allies that the BJP would not come under pressure.Back


Army out in Ahmedabad, one killed

Ahmedabad, April 12
The Army was tonight called out as members of two communities clashed leaving 40 persons wounded and one killed. As many as 25 shops and houses were set on fire.

The Army rushed to the violence-affected Danilimda locality of Ahmedabad to help the police contain the violence.

The authorities imposed a curfew this evening as violence continued unabated in the area.

The police lobbed teargas shells and opened fire to disperse mobs indulging in heavy stone-throwing in Dhruvnagar and Sonal Park localities of Danilimda police station area here.

Mobs belonging to two different communities came out on the streets and hurled stones, burning rags and broken bottles at each other.

The police first burst teargas shells and then opened fire to quell the unruly mobs. PTIBack

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