BJP HITS BASU, SLUR FOR SLUR 

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By FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 1.03.99
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New Delhi, March 1 :     The BJP today launched a blistering attack on West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu for calling the Vajpayee government ?barbaric? and ?uncivilised? and for pledging support to the Congress in its bid to topple the BJP-led government. The party said the veteran Marxist leader has lost his ?mental balance?. Human resources development minister Murli Manohar Joshi said it demonstrated the ?political myopia and ideological paranoia of the Marxists?. BJP vice-president J.P. Mathur said the ?historic blunder? ? which Basu thinks his party committed in not allowing him to become Prime Minister in the United Front government ? has made him ?lose his mental balance?. Basu had said in Calcutta yesterday that the ?barbaric, uncivilised, communal? BJP-led coalition government must go and the CPM will be happy to see a Congress government at Centre. ?I can well understand the communists? frustration over the success of the government in providing political stability and social harmony. But I am rather surprised at the temerity of the veteran Marxist leader to term the government barbaric and uncivilised,? Joshi said in a hard-hitting statement. ?Coming as it does from the top leader of a political outfit whose history is soaked in human blood, heinous crimes and wanton destruction of mankind and civilisation, the remarks are all the more intriguing,? he said. Joshi said: ?The CPM still fashions itself as a Stalinist party. They have condoned the Stalinist brutalities, justified Pol Pot barbarism and the insane Tiananmen square massacre.? However, in Calcutta, CPM leader Anil Biswas tonight defended Basu?s remarks. ?Communists always tell the truth and as a true communist, Basu rightly criticised the BJP for being communal,? he said. Mathur said the communist leader has demonstrated he would not mind ?stooping to uncivilised depths in giving vent to his personal and political frustrations?. He said the fact that Basu was speaking out of frustration is evident from his confession that the CPM will support the Congress bid to topple Vajpayee government and his statement that ?we will be happy if the Congress wins the next elections?. Mathur said it was surprising that instead of asking for the dismissal of the Bihar government for its failure to protect Dalits, Basu is calling ?us uncivilised? and backing the ?anti-Dalit Congress?. He said Basu has a right to criticise the Centre, but ?should mind his language?. ?Laloo Prasad Yadav and others using such language is understandable, but not Basu, who is considered a scholar,? he added. Citing a few instances of political killings in West Bengal, Mathur said some RSP activists were burnt alive by Marxists in Basanti village, Kolagachi, South Parganas district. He asked: ?Is it not barbaric?? In another village, two RSP workers, aged 80 and 70, were murdered by the CPM, he said. The party said the Congress-communist conspiracy to topple the BJP-led government has come a cropper and their joining hands to save the Rabri government in Bihar exposed the ?unprincipled and opportunistic nature of Congress and the communists?. Answering a question, Mathur said Vajpayee will attend the rally organised by the West Bengal BJP on March 20. Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is pressing Vajpayee not to attend the rally as the turnout will be poor.