Advani was the weakest home minister ever: Congress

March 25th, 2008 - 9:55 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, March 25 (IANS) Intensifying its attack on Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani, the Congress Tuesday labelled him the “weakest home minister ever” and said his statement that he was kept in the dark about moves on the 1999 Kandahar hijacking showed he “did not enjoy the trust of his own ministry”. “How has the then home minister (Advani) claimed that he was not aware that then foreign minister Jaswant Singh was going on the plane carrying the terrorists to Kandahar. This shows he did not enjoy the trust of his own ministry,” Congress spokesperson M. Veerappa Moily said Tuesday.

Advani had made this claim last week in the “Walk the Talk” programme on NDTV that he did not know Singh would accompany the terrorists on the plane to Kandahar. He also said he had been opposed to giving the terrorists a safe passage. Jaswant Singh had handed over the terrorists to the hijackers and brought back the 160 passengers who had boarded the ill-fated IC-814 plane in December 1999.

“Even then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was informed about the hijacking only 40 minutes after it took place,” Moily told reporters.

The BJP has blamed the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government time and again of being soft on internal security issues like terrorism and Maoism. The Congress has countered this by charging the BJP for the 2001 terror attack on the parliament, the Akshardham temple attack, the Kandahar hijacking and other terrorist acts that took place when the party was in power.

The Congress offensive took the attack on Advani to a new decibel when Moily said: “The decision taken on the hijack was an ill-thought decision. Now Advani is not ready to hold the ugly baby. I would not like to call a leader of that stature a liar. He was a lame-duck deputy prime minister and home minister.”

Advani has made some startling revelations and claims in his recently released autobiography “My Country, My Life”, triggering a sparring game between the BJP and Congress.

“He (Advani) was the weakest home minister ever,” Moily said, in what appears to be a tit for tat for Advani’s quip that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the weakest prime minister ever, suggesting that real power was vested in Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

“No statement has come from Vajpayee on the hijacking. He has to answer why he carried on with such a deputy prime minister. I have a lot of sympathy for him,” Moily said.

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