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In election mode, BJP to hold anti-terror rallies
Tribune News Service

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, BJP president Rajnath Singh (right) and Murli Manohar Joshi on their arrival for the party National Executive Committee in New Delhi on Thursday.
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, BJP president Rajnath Singh (right) and Murli Manohar Joshi on their arrival for the party National Executive Committee in New Delhi on Thursday. ó PTI
photo

New Delhi, October 26
Gearing itself for the coming Assembly elections, the BJP today announced that it would hold a series of anti-terror rallies in different parts of the country, including Ayodhya, next month.

BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said that the meeting of the party's office-bearers decided to hold rallies at 14 places in the country, which witnessed by terrorist incidents, to highlight the menace of terrorism to the nation.

''The government's soft-pedalling of mercy petition of Afzal raised many issues,'' the spokesman pointed out and added that the cities where the rallies are be held include Ayodhya, Varanasi, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Kolkata where the terrorists have struck in the past.

There had been umpteen number of mercy petitions by the convicts facing the gallows for their crimes against humanity and all petitions were disposed off within 24 hours after filing the petition but the government was yet to decide in 24 days after the clemency was sought, Mr Javadekar noted.

He said delay in hanging Afzal was not an issue concerning an individual but the determination of the national will to enforce the law in letter and spirit.

''Nobody in the BJP pleaded for mercy for Dara Singh, convicted of murdering Christian missionary Graham Staines in Mayurbhanj in Orissa because nobody agreed with the killing.

It was not the case with Afzal where people and organisations, including the Congress party, were putting forth all kinds of perverse arguments to save him from the gallows,'' he said.

He said on November 27, the opening day of the Winter Session of Parliament, the BJP had decided to organise a national security pledge march in Delhi and the party had nominated two senior leaders Vijay Kumar Malhotra and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi to coordinate with the Delhi unit.

Attended by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and presided over by party chief Rajnath Singh, the meeting decided to honour the families of the security personnel who died in the Parliament attack on its fifth anniversary on December 13.

With elections due next year in several states, including Uttar Pradesh, the BJP is vigoroursly raising its nationalist agenda in an attempt to win back its core Hindutva constituency.

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Advaniís absence sets tongues wagging
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 26
Former party President L K Advani's absence at today's Office-Bearers meeting has set the tongues wagging in the BJP with one group describing it as a "deliberate expression of his anger" against the present functioning within the party.

"Much is being read in his absence, a senior leader said and added that Mr Advani is not a person to express "his anger" in this fashion.

A conscious attempt was made by the BJP to play down Mr Advani's absence at the meeting and the spokesman said that he could not take part in the meeting because of the 'delayed' arrival of visiting Maldives Foreign Minister Ahmed Shaheed at his residence.

And because the Office Bearers meeting, which takes place once in every 45days, is usually fixed well in advance, it was impossible for Mr Advani to attend the meeting which lasted about 45 minutes.

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and senior leaders Murli Manohar Joshi attended the meeting presided over by party President Rajnath Singh.

In this meeting, the office-bearers were introduced to the newly inducted Organising Secretaries, drawn from the RSS Pracharaks.

An anti-Advani group in the party is trying to project Mr Advani's absence as a 'snub' to the RSS so that the wedge between the two could be further sharpened .

The party, on its part, said that it was in 'live contact' with Mr Advani, who had sought to be exempted from attending the meeting yesterday itself when he attended the meeting convened on Special Economic Zones panel meeting headed by former BJP President M Venkaiah Naidu.

BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said it was not just Mr Advani who was absent but a host of BJP leaders ranging from Party General Secretary Arun Jaitley and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh who were not in the country. BJP Vice

President Kalyan Singh, Kalraj Mishra and Vinay Katiyar besides Mrs Sushma Swaraj could not attend the meeting as well.

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