BJP wasting no time to make Mumbai terror poll issue

December 1st, 2008 - 3:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyJammu, Dec 1 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is now harping on the terror attacks in Mumbai to seek votes in the Hindu-dominated Jammu region, pushing all local issues to the backburner. “The Congress cannot protect you. They could not save innocent lives in Mumbai, how can they make your future secure here,” thundered Nirmal Singh, party’s former state unit president and contestant from Gandhi Nagar Assembly constituency at a rally in Jammu.

He faces a stiff competition from Congress nominee Raman Bhalla, a sitting legislator. The BJP is attacking the Congress all the way, while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which it had been blaming for the Amarnath land row crisis is also not being touched.

The Congress and the BJP are the two main parties in the contest. Both are contesting all the 37 seats in the Jammu region. The Congress had won 15 seats in the previous Assembly polls in 2002 and the BJP had won one. Rest were won by National Conference (9), Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (four) and eight independents, some of whom joined the Congress and the PDP later.

The BJP has brought the Mumbai terror strikes in its discourse because its leaders feel the TV images of the firing, grenade explosions and the bodies in the luxury hotels has left an imprint on the minds of the people. “There is an element of fear among the people and they need a party that can reassure them of a fearless environment and that’s our party,” said BJP state unit president Ashok Khajuria.

The anger against the Congress leadership at the centre and Maharashtra in the wake of the terror attacks is being exploited by the BJP by presenting itself as a party tough on terrorism.

“Nothing of this sort happened during our regime,” said former minister of state of defence Chaman Lal Gupta, who is a candidate from the Jammu West constituency. He is fighting against former deputy chief minister and senior Congress leader Mangat Ram Sharma.

But the people are not amused by the BJP’s appeal in the name of fighting terrorism. “They were equally bad when they were in power. They were spineless as Jammu and Kashmir witnessed the worst massacres during their time,” recalled Shiban Krishan Bhat, a migrant.

“All that the politicians are interested in is power,” quipped Vinay Gupta. “It doesn’t behove anyone of them to claim that they fought terror and others did not,” he said.

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