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Najma praises Vajpayee, attacks Cong
Tribune News Service & PTI

New Delhi, February 28
Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson Najma Heptullah today openly attacked the Congress and heaped praises on Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, but remained vague on her joining the BJP.

In an obvious attack on Congress leadership, Ms Heptullah, speaking at a function at the Prime Minister’s residence here, said, “Unko chahiye apna star ooncha karen” (They should raise their level) in the presence of Mr Vajpayee.

This was the “weakness” in the Congress leadership, she said, adding, “Just because you praise someone’s good work...if I am getting Mr Vajpayee to release a book, they assume I am joining the BJP.”

“I am a Congress member. I am a descendant of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad,” she said.

Mr Vajpayee said, “It is up to her to decide (whether she wants to join the BJP or not)”.

The Prime Minister earlier released the Hindi translation of the Quran (Tarjumanul Quran) written by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and brought out by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.

Ms Heptullah took the opportunity to praise Mr Vajpayee for making efforts to “unite hearts” both within the country as well as with Pakistan and wished him success.

“You are doing what was not done so far. Your effort has created a good atmosphere and kindled hopes,” she said, adding, “In your leadership, Azad’s dream of friendship across the borders is finally becoming a reality. You are trying to clean up the debris of Partition”.

“I was in Pakistan recently and the feelings and sentiments for the Prime Minister I saw there, are remarkable”, she said amid applause.

Pointing that God helped those who did good work, she wished that if any problems cropped up in his (Vajpayee’s) path, these should be cleared.

Releasing the book, Mr Vajpayee paid glowing tributes to Azad and said the Quran, like all holy scriptures, encapsulated the voice of God.

Referring to the Prime Minister’s Gramin Sadak Yojna, she said it would not only link cities and villages across the country, but also “join hearts”.

“People are divided. We want them to be united through your efforts,” said Ms Heptullah.

She also equated Mr Vajpayee with Azad in poetry. On the practice of cow slaughter among Muslims, she said it had not been favoured anywhere in the Quran. Killing of cows and eating its flesh found no mention in the Quran, she said.

Ms Heptullah’s rift with the Congress came to the fore when she hit out at Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Sunday, prompting Congress leaders to quickly disown her.


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