Ahead of fourth round, BJP-Congress war rages on (Political Roundup)May 4th, 2009 - 9:36 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, May 4 (IANS) With three days to go for the fourth round of Indian elections, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) star Narendra Modi hit out at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh while the Congress blamed the BJP for freeing jailed Pakistani terrorists a decade ago.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son and general secretary Rahul Gandhi tore into the BJP by recalling how a BJP-led government freed three top terrorists in exchange for an Indian plane hijacked to Taliban-ruled Kandahar in Afghanistan.
It is a theme the Gandhis have returned to time and again to emphasise that the BJP is a party weak on terror although it makes the charge against the Congress.
Addressing a Congress rally in Farukkhabad in Uttar Pradesh, Sonia Gandhi alleged that the BJP treated terrorists like “guests” and released them while the subsequent Congress-led government tackled terrorism with “an iron fist”.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also took up the BJP-weak-on-terror theme.
Speaking at a campaign rally at Pehowa in Haryana, he said that the terror attacks on the Indian parliament, the Kandahar hijack, the Akshardham attack, the Jammu and Kashmir assembly attack and the Kargil infiltration took place during the BJP regime. “The BJP government was sleeping.”
Rahul Gandhi, campaigning in Bhilwara in Rajasthan, added that the BJP lost power in 2004 primarily because of its “India Shining” slogan.
“Their India Shining campaign is an example of their anti-poor, anti-farmer ideology,” added Gandhi, who has become the main campaign speaker for the Congress, the country’s oldest party.
The BJP’s main ammunition against the Congress Monday was Modi.
He took to task the Gandhi family for giving the prime minister e a clean chit - on a variety of issues.
“Only three members of the Gandhi family - Sonia Gandhi, Rahul and Priyanka - are describing Manmohan Singh as a strong and successful PM, while the fact is he has failed to deliver his responsibilities,” the Gujarat chief minister said.
He criticised Manmohan Singh for “not taking any action over the atrocities committed on Sikhs in Pakistan”. “I want to know what action has our PM has taken in this regard?”
The Left remained unforgiving - vis-a-vis the Congress.
Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury said: “CPI-M in particular is working towards bringing a policy shift so as to narrow the gap between shining India and suffering India. And it can only be brought about by a non-Congress, non-BJP government at the centre.”
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