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BJP to harp on Godhra and gaurav

Ahmedabad, Oct. 23: With the Election Commission likely to soon announce its schedule for the Gujarat polls, the BJP today said the “Godhra carnage” and the role of “pseudo-secularists” would form the party’s main planks.

BJP national president M. Venkaiah Naidu said his party would highlight the “secular parties’ silence” on the Godhra incident, the reaction to the communal violence that followed and the negative campaign let loose by the Congress and other parties against the state.

Naidu, deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, spokesman Arun Jaitley and the party’s Gujarat in-charge, Ram Das Aggrawal, were in the state capital today to attend the meeting of the party’s state election campaign committee. Advani later inaugurated the country’s first IMAX 3D theatre at Gujarat Science City.

Naidu briefed reporters after the meeting, which discussed preparations for the polls and reviewed the response to chief minister Narendra Modi’s Gaurav Yatra. The yatra has already covered 120 of the 182 Assembly segments. The BJP chief claimed that the march was receiving a very good response and said his party was confident of sweeping the elections as Gujarat’s gaurav (pride) would dominate the polls. He said all fronts of the party would be activated and the election committee, under the chairmanship of former chief minister Keshubhai Patel, will meet regularly.

On the post-election situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP leader said his party would like to see a government in place as early as possible. “Now it is the turn of the political parties to rise to the aspirations and expectations of the people,” he said. The BJP has no role to play.

Naidu clarified that Advani had not said anything favouring a Congress government in Kashmir. “We have nothing to choose between the Congress and the People’s Democratic Party. It’s these parties which have to make the choice,” he said.

On the turmoil in the BJP-backed Mayavati government in Uttar Pradesh, Naidu reiterated there was no threat to the coalition. “The Uttar Pradesh government is stable. I have asked for a report from the state leaders. Action will be taken against those indulging in anti-party activities,” he warned.

The BJP chief also blasted the Congress for what he said was double standards — the Congress has banned conversions in Madhya Pradesh, which it rules, but is opposing a similar law in ADMK-ruled Tamil Nadu. Naidu said all states should enact anti-conversion laws. Christian organisations that are objecting to the anti-conversion law in Tamil Nadu are doing so out of guilt, he added.

Asked to explain the BJP’s humiliating defeat in Hindu-dominated Jammu, Naidu said the party was never a major force in Jammu and Kashmir.

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