Advani hooted by Congress, targeted by partyman (Political Roundup)April 16th, 2009 - 9:14 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, April 16 (IANS) L.K. Advani, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) “iron man” who it says will restore decisiveness to governance if elected, continued to be under Congress fire Thursday even as his own party worker stunned him by throwing a sandal at him and calling him a “fake iron man”.
As the five-phase election process got underway, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party continued with their slugfest and the only relief for the beleaguered BJP on the day was the release of young Varun Gandhi from jail on parole.
The Congress, that had been on the offensive for the last few days against Advani, hitting back at him for targeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, today slammed the BJP prime ministerial candidate for his shifting stances and even hinted that he had been lying on crucial occasions, quite at variance with his claims of being a strong leader.
Rahul Gandhi, speaking in Andhra Pradesh, kept up the tirade against Advani saying “they bend before terrorists and now they tell us that we are weak on terrorists.”
His attacks followed both Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi training their guns on the 81-year-old leader Wednesday forcing the BJP to plead for an end to the “mud-slinging”.
Reacting to Sonia Gandhis’ description of Advani as a “slave of the RSS”, BJP leader Arun Jaitley said the Congress leaders’ utterances “smacked of arrogance and some element of frustration”.
The Congress, which had virtually driven Advani to a corner by a sustained campaign blaming him for the 1999 Kandahar hijack drama, harped on the same theme again Thursday.
“Is it not true that Advani in his book clearly said he was part of the decision making on Kandahar,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi questioned, “when then defence minister George Fernandes had asserted that Advani indeed was present at these meetings”.
On Advani’s campaign trail in Madhya Pradesh, a former party office-bearer flung a wooden sandal at him calling him a “fake iron man” who had “no ideology”. The sandal missed Advani, but he became the latest target of a series of “shoe-throwing” incidents in the country aimed at political leaders.
Sandal-thrower Pawas Agarwal, a former Katni district president of the BJP, told reporters: “He (Advani) has no ideology. On the one hand he asks for votes in the name of Ram and on the other hand pays obeisance to (Pakistan founder Mohammed Ali) Jinnah.” Agarwal was taken into police custody.
Earlier this month, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Congress MP Naveen Jindal were also targeted by people who expressed their anger by throwing footwear at these politicians.
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