The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Naidu holds out origin law threat

New Delhi, March 20: Keeping up the offensive on Sonia Gandhi, the BJP has said the National Democratic Alliance could enact a law barring foreign-born citizens from high constitutional posts if voted back to power.

“If need be, we will bring a law barring people of foreign origin holding the highest constitutional post. It is not a personal attack on any individual but it concerns the country,” party chief M. Venkaiah Naidu said at a function at his house to mark Ugadi, the Telugu New Year.

Naidu said the BJP had always maintained that people of foreign origin should not hold the post of President, Prime Minister or Chief Justice of India.

The BJP chief added that the need for a law on this matter would be incorporated into the NDA’s common agenda. Asked if this meant the party was attacking the Congress chief, he said: “It is no personal attack on any person but it is concerning interests of the country.”

Naidu said he had asked Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Vinay Katiyar not to make statements about Sonia, but added that the Congress must also exercise restraint and not use words like “Ravana” when talking about L.K. Advani’s Bharat Uday yatra.

Even though Naidu expressed unhappiness about Katiyar’s comments and Prime Minister Vajpayee has expressed a desire to have a “dignified” campaign, the man at the centre of the controversy remains unrepentant.

Katiyar, who was among the BJP leaders to attend the Ugadi function, said: “I have not said anything wrong. The Congress spokesmen should learn Hindi and understand the right meaning of what I have said.”

Katiyar was shown on television channels on Wednesday comparing the Congress chief to “Helen of Troy and Gandhari, mother of the Kauravas in the Mahabharat”. During the course of his election speech in the Lakhimpur-Kheri Lok Sabha constituency that he has been allotted, the state BJP chief attributed the violent deaths in the Gandhi family to Sonia’s presence.

An angry Congress has demanded a public apology from Atal Bihari Vajpayee for Katiyar’s comments.

Asked if the BJP was favouring a law barring foreign-born Indians as it was “scared” of the Congress, Naidu said: “Why should we be scared of the Congress' They are not strong enough to give a fight in even 200 seats.”

Advani has also joined the anti-Sonia chorus and justified raking up her foreign origins during election-time.

It is a “political issue” and parties are free to raise it, he told at a rally in Saunser, Madhya Pradesh.

Email This Page