The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Firing off rival shoulder

New Delhi, Aug. 19: Her target was Sonia Gandhi, but the shoulder she sought to fire from was that of Congressman Digvijay Singh.

Uma Bharti did not take the Madhya Pradesh chief minister’s name. But the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in the poll-bound state referred to a letter purportedly written by her rival asking state legislators to read a book allegedly containing references to “sycophancy” in the Congress.

“Instead of bringing a no-confidence motion against us, the Congress should bring it against Sonia,” Bharti said. “Either have confidence in her or change her.”

Bharti said the Congress does not have faith in the Constitution, which was evident from the imposition of Emergency, and the judiciary, as was proved by bringing the legislation on maintenance to divorced Muslim women overturning a Supreme Court verdict. The allusion was to the Shah Bano case.

She said the Congress also does not have faith in Indianness, as was evident from Sonia’s leadership, and institutions like the CBI and the army whose functioning it was questioning.

Bharti said the Congress moved the no-confidence motion out of “anger and frustration” at its inability to form the government at the Centre.

Bahujan Samaj Party leader Rashid Alvi said India has the potential to emerge as a powerful nation but there was need to end hatred and differences among people of various faiths.

He recalled President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s speech that the nation would not remember “us for how many mosques, temples, churches and gurdwaras were built, but how safe and prosperous India we are leaving for the younger generation”. He said the BSP was for settlement of the Ayodhya issue through mutual understanding or through the Supreme Court.

Alvi disputed Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s charge that the Uttar Pradesh government was trying to book him, his son Akhilesh and party leader Amar Singh under the anti-terror act and said these rumours were being spread to malign the BSP-led government headed by a Dalit.

Samajwadi members, including their party chief, protested loudly when Alvi tried to show a photograph taken during the Bijnore riots during Mulayam’s chief ministership.

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