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Raje stays away from BJP meet

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
June 01, 2008 18:49 IST
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Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje's decision to stay away from the Bharatiya Janata Party national executive in New Delhi took away glamour from the meet. Newsmen who were looking for an opportunity to quiz her in the wake of her confrontation with the Gujjar leader Col Bhainsla were disappointed.

In fact her continuing confrontation with the Gujjars forced the national executive to be shifted from Jaipur to Delhi.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, spokesman of the BJP, chose not to answer whether Col Bhainsla had demanded Raje's removal before they any talks with the state government.

"I am afraid that I will not be able to answer your question," he told a journalist who had raised the issue.

In fact Om Mathur, another senior leader of the party, was asked to stay back in Jaipur as newsmen may ask embrassing questions, something the party could ill afford particularly when it is celebrating its Karnataka win.

"The blossoming of the lotus in Karnataka is the blossoming of lotus in south India, the long-term impact of which will be visible in the years to come. In addition to being an expression of the people's lack of confidence in the Congress and United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre, the victory of Karnataka also is a message to all political parties that the lifespan of the politics of opportunism and betrayal is very short. The victory of Karnataka is a vote of confidence given by the people in answer to the politics of duplicity," party president Rajnath Singh said in his opening remark.

He denied the Congress party's claim that it was the largest party in the country.

BJP and its allies have over 200 seats in Lok Sabha while Congress has just got 125, Ravi Shankar Prasad said on behalf of the party.

"Our meeting was to take place in Jaipur. The meeting was supposed to last for three days. Now it is taking place over two days. We all know why we had to cancel the meeting in Jaipur and shift it to Delhi. Rajasthan has been inflicted by a double setback. The soil of of Jaipur was bloodied simultaneously at several places by bombs of the terrorists. I pay my condolences to all the innocent citizens and their bereaved families who were killed in this dastardly act. On the other hand, the sad and unfortunate incidents of violence that have taken place on the issue of reservation have shocked not only the people of Rajasthan, but also the entire country. I appeal to all sections of society in Rajasthan as well as the neighbouring states to exercise restraint and offer my tributes to all the innocent people who have been killed in this reservation movement," Rajnath said.

Till Saturday night, neither the Congress nor the BJP had uttered even a single word of sympathy for the blast victims and those killed in the police firing.

The Delhi police made elaborate security arrangement both at the Parliament Annexe and 11 Ashoka Road to ensure that the Gujjars agitation does not disrupt proceedings.

"We have orders to screen each and every visitor and no matter who the person is, no vehicle is going to be allowed without screening," a policeman told a mediaperson while the latter was proceeding to attend a press conference.

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi