Press Trust of India
Kolkata, 1 October: Hitting back at Mrs Sonia Gandhi, BJP president Rajnath Singh today said if she has any concern for Prime Minister’s respect, she should ask Mr Rahul Gandhi to resign as Congress vice-president or seek apology for his statement on the ordinance on convicted lawmakers.
“I am surprised to read a statement of Soniaji where she said that the BJP made fun of the Prime Minister, but the whole party is beside him (PM). I would request Soniaji that there should not be any attempt of face-saving by your party. The person who made fun of the PM is the vice-president of the Congress, not the BJP,” Mr Singh told a press conference here.
“BJP did not show any disrespect to the Prime Minister. If Soniaji has any concern for the respect of the PM, she should ask Congress vice-president to resign or tender an apology to the country,” he said.
The BJP chief said that when the PM is out of the country, he is not the Prime Minister of a political party, but he represents the entire nation.
“At that time, snubbing the PM, putting a question mark on his credibility or even dubbing an ordinance a complete nonsense defeats the very purpose for which the PM has gone abroad,” he said.
Mr Gandhi had trashed the ordinance as “complete nonsense” and said it should be “torn up and thrown away”.
The BJP president said that his party was opposed to the ordinance meant to safeguard convicted parliamentarians and legislators.
“Our leaders L K Advani, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley had already met the President to express our party’s opposition to the ordinance.”
“I would humbly request the President that the ordinance which has been sent to him for his assent should kindly be returned,” he said.
Asked if his party felt that the Prime Minister should resign, Mr Singh said, “This decision has to be taken by the Prime Minister. He is out of the country. I will not make any comment. Whatever I have to say, I will say when he comes back”.
On the Supreme Court’s ruling on the right to reject, he said that the Election Commission should take cognizance of it and convene an all-party meeting.
“This direction of the apex court should be seen in the context of compulsory electoral reforms,” he said.
The BJP chief dubbed the Congress as the “most communal party” and said that “it indulged in communal and divisive politics whenever election comes”.
“If anybody is responsible for not establishing communal harmony in the country, then it is the Congress party. The British had followed the policy of divide and rule. After independence, Congress has adopted that policy for vote bank politics,” he said.
He said that the Prime Minister had earlier stated that the Muslims have the first right on the resources of India. Now Union Home Minister wrote to state chief ministers that no innocent Muslim youth is wrongfully detained.
BJP, he claimed, was the “most secular political party” in the country and it believed that all were equal before law and justice.
On BJP’s stand on Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, he replied, “We don’t change our stand”.