The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BJP trashes rath remarks

New Delhi, Dec. 30: The BJP today objected to VHP working president Ashok Singhal’s criticism of deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani’s rath yatra and attempts by the RSS to embroil President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in a controversy for proposing to inaugurate Jesuit conference in Calcutta.

Reacting to Singhal’s charge that Advani’s campaign had done little more than “politicising” Hindutva, BJP spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it was “unnecessary”.

“We don’t agree with the remark,” said Naqvi.

“At a time when other political parties, notably the Congress, were trying to suppress (the) people’s sentiments, Advani, as the leader of a responsible political party, spearheaded the yatra.

“He did it not for any political benefit or religious objective, but only to strengthen the roots of cultural nationalism,” he said.

On RSS chief K.S. Sudarshan’s reported remark on Kalam, Naqvi said: “It is not proper to drag the President’s office into a controversy. The President will use his conscience to decide which programme he wants to attend. The BJP has no problem with that.” Sudharshan had allegedly called Kalam’s Jesuit meet inauguration as “very unfortunate”.

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