BJP faces flak in parliament for attack on CPI-M office

March 10th, 2008 - 6:55 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party

New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) The attack on the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) central office here had its echo in parliament Monday with almost all parties barring the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) condemning it as an “attack on democracy”. The BJP was virtually isolated when the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) as well as its own allies condemned the incident, in which a mob, allegedly of BJP workers, attacked the CPI-M headquarters Sunday.

Embarrassed BJP MPs trooped to the well of the Lok Sabha raising slogans against CPI-M, forcing the proceedings to be adjourned abruptly. In the Rajya Sabha, members of the BJP and the Left parties indulged in a verbal clash leading to a half-hour adjournment.

While the Left as well as the UPA constituents termed the incident as a “fascist move”, the BJP and the Shiv Sena alleged that the CPI-M-ruled Kerala and West Bengal were witnessing “state-sponsored terrorism”.

A 250-strong mob attacked the CPI-M office, injuring 10 Left activists and eight policemen. The mob was apparently reacting to clashes between the CPI-M and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Kerala’s Kannur district, where seven people were killed last week.

On behalf of the government, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee condemned the attack and said: “Political parties are an integral part of the system.

“The incident of vandalism and violence is deplorable,” he said, adding that the government would share the details of the police investigation as and when it gets them.

Although Mohammed Salim of the CPI-M raised the issue at noon, the BJP MPs kept disrupting him and then Congress chief whip Madhusudan Mistry, who spoke on the issue.

Salim alleged that BJP MPs led a march to the party office and indulged in violence without any provocation.

Mistry alleged that the BJP leaders were protecting the culprits. “The RSS should be banned in this country. It is promoting violence everywhere,” he said.

In reply, BJP deputy leader V.K. Malhotra attacked the Congress for what he called coming under the CPI-M’s pressure. He sought a judicial enquiry into Sunday’s incident.

After about 25 minutes of verbal duels, BJP MPs ran to the well of the house, despite stern warnings by Speaker Somnath Chatterjee.

“It is a matter of great sadness and sorrow… One of the major parties, after speaking itself, is not allowing others to speak. I condemn it,” Chatterjee said and adjourned the house for 50 minutes.

The BJP MPs were embarrassed when leaders of its own allies, Prabhunath Singh (Janata Dal-United), Brij Kishore Tripathy (Biju Janata Dal) and Mamata Banerjee (Trinamool Congress), deplored the attack while only the Shiv Sena supported it in both houses.

“We do not support any violence on political parties and their offices. But such brutal attacks have taken place on our party too,” said Banerjee, the CPI-M’s archrival in West Bengal.

Gurudas Dasgupta (Communist Party of India), Mohan Singh (Samajwadi Party), Ramkripal Yadav (Rashtriya Janata Dal), Francis George (Kerala Congress-Joseph), M.P. Virendra Kumar (Janata Dal-Secular) and Illyas Azmi (Bahujan Samaj Party) also condemned the incident.

They said the BJP and RSS have been adopting a “fascist policy”.

In the Rajya Sabha, the house was adjourned till 12.45 p.m. after MPs disrupted proceedings over the issue.

CPI-M politburo member Sitaram Yechury, whose car had been damaged in Sunday’s attack, raised the matter in the upper house. BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu alleged that CPI-M men had been killing RSS activists in northern Kerala for some years.

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