Modi tears into Rahul claim on Afzal

via Pioneer News Service | Ludhiana published on May 11, 2009

The Lok Sabha election is drawing to a close, but there is no end to the war of words between Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

Shortly after Rahul Gandhi said that Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru would be hanged when his turn comes, Modi reminded him that it took just 15 minutes for a Government led by his family member to decide on hanging of a Sikh youth accused of killing then Army Chief General Vaidya in the 1980s.

Modi sought to know from Rahul why only three cases, including that of Afzal Guru, were pending, when out of 29 persons, who were facing death, cases of 26 had already been processed.

“Rahul said Afzal would be hanged when his turn comes. I had heard that under the Congress Government, there is always a queue to get a telephone, gas connection and school admission. Now, it seems Congress also had a queue for those who had filed a mercy petition,” Modi shot back to Rahul.

There was no stopping for Modi, who argued that it was the same Congress that had taken “just 15 minutes” to decide on the death sentence of a youth of the (Punjabi) community who was convicted for killing then Army chief General Vaidya in the 1980s.

“The Sikh youth’s family had submitted a mercy petition after he was awarded death sentence by the Supreme Court, but your (Rahul) family’s Government took just 15 minutes to decide in the Cabinet to hang him and 24 hours later he was hanged. But in the case of Afzal Guru, his hanging is being delayed because of the vote bank politics,” Modi alleged.

Modi trained his guns on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for defending the Bofors scam accused Ottavio Quattrocchi. “I would like to ask him as to why he (Manmohan Singh) is quiet on the plight of millions of Tamils who are facing atrocities in Sri Lanka,” Modi said. He minced no words in attacking Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi for his fast on issue of Tamils in Sri Lanka. “It was the shortest ever fast unto death that started after breakfast and ended before lunch.”

With his reference to Tamils issue, Modi appeared extending an olive branch to J Jayalalithaa. Incidentally, the NDA has found an ally in TRS in Andhra Pradesh dealing a sever jolt to CPI(M)’s plan to install a non-BJP, non-Congress Government in New Delhi.

Modi had all praise for NDA’s prime ministerial candidate LK Advani for introducing the Ladli Lakshmi scheme for the benefit of the girl child and for promising to introduce the “one rank-one pension” scale for the armed forces in the party’s manifesto.

He appealed to the people to unite against the shameful practice of female foeticide which, he said, is prevalent in north Indian States. Further, Modi blamed the UPA Government for not implementing the river interlinking scheme, which had been introduced by former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee.

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