New Delhi, Jan. 8: The BJP today battled accusations from Aam Aadmi Party leaders of having collaborated with the fringe group that attacked their party office today, the allegations apparently fuelled by the main Opposition party’s “Hindutva” identity.
The Hindu Rakshak Dal, the little-known outfit which owned up responsibility for the incident, was said to have been angered by AAP leader and Prashant Bhushan’s recent call for a referendum in Kashmir on army deployment for internal security.
BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman asserted that “we have nothing to do with this outfit remotely” and accused Bhushan of “dragging us into the episode”. She condemned the attack saying “nobody has any right to take the law into their hands”.
In the same breath, she described Bhushan’s comments too as condemnable.
RSS’s spokesperson Ram Madhav echoed Nirmala’s views on Twitter. He claimed there was “no place in a democracy” for attacks on party offices but stressed Bhushan’s statement was “highly deplorable”.
Shortly after Bhushan’s comments on Monday, Madhav tweeted and labelled Bhushan as a “voice of the (J&K) secessionists”.
Nirmala denied suggestions that the BJP’s attempted balancing act to castigate the Hindu Rakshak Dal and Bhushan in the same tone was because of its Hindutva ideological persuasion.
“This is unfortunately how the secular spectrum always branded us. Any attack by an outfit with a Hindu nomenclature is linked to the BJP. There are times when we hear Congress leaders declaring their pro-Hindu credentials and yet nobody reproaches them because it is a given that the Congress must be secular and the BJP must be communal.”
A website affiliated to the RSS, www.sanghparivar.org, lists 13 outfits (the BJP is excluded) that are part of the group. The Hindu Rakshak Dal is not among them.
But earlier, RSS had disowned the Sri Rama Sene, a Karnataka entity that targeted churches and pubs in the state when the BJP was in power.
The B.S. Yeddyurappa dispensation dithered for weeks before cracking the whip on the Sene activists after getting the green signal from the RSS. A Karnataka Sangh spokesperson said that the RSS would have no problem if the Rama Sene was proscribed.
In 2011, Bhushan was assaulted by Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga of the Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena. Later, it emerged that Bagga was a former member of the BJP’s youth wing.
Bagga floated a Narendra Modi fan club and was among those who protested outside L.K. Advani’s house after the BJP veteran quit party posts following the declaration of the Gujarat chief minister as campaign committee chairman in June last year.
Today, Bagga tweeted he had nothing to do with the AAP office attack.