M A I N   N E W S

BJP, JD(U) in face-saving mode
LK Advani, Sharad deny strain in ties
Sanjay Singh
Tribune News Service

Patna, June 13
The BJP sought to underplay rather ignore the strong reaction of its ruling alliance partner in Bihar JD(U) over a controversial advertisement, displaying the photograph of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi raising each other’s hand, carried by prominent newspapers in Bihar on the first day of its national executive meeting.

Nitish and his party were so furious over this advertisement that they not only ordered a police inquiry against the advertisement agency that had released it to the newspapers but also cancelled the dinner being organised at Nitish’s residence for the entire national executive members of the BJP without citing any specific reasons.

Although BJP workers were very much peeved and angry over the humiliation meted out to their entire top leadership by their old and trusted ally in Bihar, the party leadership preferred to ignore the entire episode.

Briefing mediapersons on the second day of the national executive meeting here today, national spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy evaded all questions pertaining to the controversial advertisement and the strong outburst (read over reaction) of JD(U) and its leader Nitish Kumar over it.

Rudy only spoke about the resolutions discussed and approved by the national executive like the UPA’s failure to control the price rise, naxal menace, corruption and Chinese incursion on Indian territory. On being asked a specific question about the Nitish-Modi spat and its likely impact on the BJP-JD(U) alliance, Rudy clarified that the BJP national executive meeting had decided to focus only on issues of national importance. Even other top leaders of the BJP preferred to remain mum over this controversy.

"We are a mature party which has a mature leadership with resilience… We are showing maturity. For us, our self-respect is most important. We are not going to compromise on our self-respect," party spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.

The BJP went into a damage control mode with senior leader LK Advani saying “there can be differences in an alliance. I read in the newspapers that due to an advertisement, there were cracks. But by shaking hands, how can there be cracks. It can only lead to friendship and small problems do occur”.

On its part, the JD(U) also remained silent over this episode rather the national president of the party Sharad Yadav denied any strain in the party’s alliance with the BJP and reiterated the party’s decision to contest the coming assembly elections in Bihar in alliance with the BJP.





Modi attacks Sonia for ‘silence’ on Bhopal

A portion of the advertisement that appeared in newspapers featuring Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi
A portion of the advertisement that appeared in newspapers featuring Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi. — PTI

Patna, June 13
Attacking Congress president Sonia Gandhi over her "silence" on the Bhopal gas tragedy verdict, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today asked her to explain who was the “Maut ka saudagar” (merchant of death).

Sonia Gandhi had during the campaign for the 2007 Gujarat Assembly polls called Modi a merchant of death for the 2002 riots in the state in the aftermath of the Godhra train carnage.

"Why is Sonia Gandhi silent on her party and the government's failure in ensuring justice to the Bhopal gas tragedy victims? Now, will she explain who is the maut ka saudagar?," he said, while addressing the Swabhiman Rally of the BJP on conclusion of the party's two-day national executive here.

Modi said several thousands had died during the Bhopal gas leak when MP was ruled by the Congress.

"The verdict in the case has come out recently after a 26-year delay. But Sonia Gandhi is maintaining a comfortable silence on the matter," the BJP leader said.

Modi alleged that Gandhi's silence on the issue of price rise of essential commodities "was killing thousands of poor in the country".

He said the UPA under Sonia Gandhi had come to power with the promise of eradicating poverty, but even after completing a year in their second term, the plight of the poor in the country was only worsening every day.

The leader claimed that the UPA government was helpless in bringing the spiralling prices of essential commodities under control.

"Sonia Gandhi is a mother too. How come she does not understand the burden of a poor mother, who is not able to feed her child due to the high cost of the essential commodities," he said.

On the Naxal problem, Modi said some sections in the Congress had claimed it was a socio-economic issue and that Maoism grown when there was no development.

"The Congress has ruled the country for over 50 years out of the 60 years since Independence. If there is no development in the country and if it is giving rise to Naxalism, then who is to be blamed but the Congress," he said.

Modi said the Naxals killed innocent people and the extremists should be answered in their own language.

"Development was important, but security of the common man was equally important," he said.

Modi also thanked the people of Bihar for the generous help rendered to Gujarat for relief work after earthquake hit the state in 2001.

BJP resolution flays UPA govt

Modi today accused the Union Government of meting out step-motherly treatment to the BJP-ruled states.

In a resolution on federal structure moved by him at the BJP National Executive Committee meeting here, Modi charged the UPA government with flouting recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission on Centre-state relations.

He alleged the government was not consulting BJP-ruled states on the appointment of Governors and Chief Justices of High Courts.

"Even several Bills adopted by the Gujarat Assembly with the two-thirds majority have been put into cold storage by the Governor or the Centre for the past six years," Modi said.

"It is a deliberate attempt to weaken the federal fabric of the country," he said.

The party National Executive, which adopted the resolution, authorised Modi to prepare a report on the issue in consultations with the Chief Ministers of the BJP-run states for an appropriate action, party spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy told a press conference.

He pointed out the erstwhile Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had always preferred consultations and followed the Sarkaria Commission's recommendations before appointing Governors and Chief Justices of the states.

BJP stalwart L K Advani, in his brief intervention, said the erstwhile NDA government had always taken the Chief Ministers into confidence before appointing Governors.

Slamming the Manmohan government, the National Executive described its one-year rule as disappointing.

"When an economist is leading a government, why has he failed to contain escalating prices of essential commodities," a resolution on UPA-11 performance said.

Police raids ad agency

The Bihar Police today conducted raids on the ad agency in connection with publishing of advertisement in a paper featuring Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi sharing a dais. The police conducted search operations on the office of the ad agency, Expression, and seized the PDF files and e-mails received by it in connection with the advertisement.

The raid was conducted close on the heels of Kumar expressing disapproval over the publishing of advertisement.

Earlier, reportedly, Kumar’s secretary Chanchal Prasad wrote to Senior Superintendent of Police Amit Jain, asking him to go into the matter. Reportedly, the money for advertisements were paid in cash in Surat and efforts are on to verify who had paid it. — Agencies



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |