| Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani at the 15th IB Centenary Endowment Lecture in New Delhi on Tuesday. (PTI)
New Delhi, Dec. 24: The BJP today sought an explanation from the Congress for being “soft” on terrorism and accused it of compromising on the People’s Democratic Party’s agenda and also attacked the Bengal government.
The resolution, adopted by the BJP’s national executive today, came down heavily on the decision of the Jammu and Kashmir government, of which the Congress is a partner, to release “certain terrorists” without comprehensive review.
“The releases appear to be more an act of political reciprocity rather than a means to achieve peace,” the resolution said.
The resolution did not spare the Bengal government either. “The West Bengal government has retarded the growth of the state. It is unprepared to cope with the threats of the al Qaida, which have shifted base to Bangladesh. All border states in the east require to be prepared to check infiltration from Bangladesh,” it said.
Sources said the draft resolution did not mention Bengal, but it was added as an afterthought, perhaps with a view to please Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and to harp on cross-border terrorism.
The resolution not only attacked the Congress’ “soft line” on terrorism, but also came down on the Rajasthan government for starvation deaths and attacked Madhya Pradesh, along with Bihar, for being “icons” of non-development.
The Karnataka government came under flak for its inability to arrest Veerappan.
Why a political party must go soft on terror is a question that baffles the country, said the resolution, adopted in the presence of Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee and deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani. The “Congress owes an explanation for this”, it said.
Recalling the successful conduct of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, the resolution said: “It is regrettable that the Congress has compromised on the PDP agenda which has started going soft on terror.”
It referred to the coalition government’s decision to merge with the local police the professionally-trained Special Operations Group.
It also attacked the Congress for its decision of not implementing the Prevention of Terrorism Act in states ruled by the party as a “mockery” of Indian federalism.
“It is unprecedented that the laws framed by the Centre in exercise of its constitutional jurisdiction are not respected by a state. This precedent, if allowed to go unchecked can prove dangerous, both for our democracy and federalism.
“If there is one state which needs active enforcement of Pota, it is Jammu and Kashmir.”
The party said the attack on the Raghunath temple, beheading of women for not abiding by a dress code and the killing of a PDP legislator have established that terrorism spared none.
The resolution said the BJP enters the new year with a renewed sense of confidence and 2003 being a year of Assembly elections, “we shall wrest back from our opponents each state held by them”.
On the increase in the activities of the Naxalites, it said: “These terror tactics are identical to those used by those indulging in cross-border terrorism.”
The party welcomed the recent initiatives to negotiate a larger settlement with some underground groups in the Northeast. Peace in the Northeast is the need of the hour. These recent initiatives will go a long way in restoring peace. It urged the Central government to consider the repeal of the IMDT Act.
The resolution said the BJP’s opponents were in shambles and were pulling in different directions. It said none of the allies of the National Democratic Alliance was leaving it while others have shown interest in joining the alliance.
“The Congress governments have a miserable performance. While the Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to go soft on terror, the Rajasthan government is unable to fight hunger and starvation in the age of food surplus. The incompetence of the Rajasthan government to handle the situation in the state has created a huge anti-incumbency wave which was responsible for its defeat in all the three byelections in the state recently,” it said.
The resolution said Bihar and Madhya Pradesh are icons of non-development. The Maharasthra government is a glaring example of in-fighting while Madhya Pradesh and Maharasthra governments have failed to prevent starvation deaths.
The resolution said the Karnataka government, unable to deal with a bandit, is cracking under a crisis of confidence. “The irresponsible political behaviour of Chhattisgarh and Punjab chief ministers in courting arrest outside the Prime Minister’s residence have demeaned the dignity of their office.”
Outlining the future roadmap, the resolution said it was “cultural nationalism, economic liberalism and development, good governance and the highest standards of probity.”