BJP to drive home the point: govt soft on terror

BJP to drive home the point: govt soft on terror
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First Published: Sun, Sep 14 2008. 10 36 PM IST

Updated: Mon, Sep 15 2008. 06 49 PM IST
New Delhi/Bangalore: The Union government was on the backfoot trying to explain the series of five synchronized explosions in the Capital on Saturday—which a group called Indian Mujahideen claimed to have carried out—even as the country tried to come to grips with the fifth terror attack in as many months.
“After each incident you gain experience,” Union home secretary Madhukar Gupta told reporters on Sunday after a meeting chaired by Union home minister Shivraj Patil.
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In the past five months, terrorists have struck in Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Surat, killing at least 130 people. Meanwhile, the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, severely crititized the government’s failure to prevent the attacks.
“The terrorists have no fear because the government is gripped with fear—of losing vote banks,” leader of the oppostion in Lok Sabha L.K. Advani told the BJP’s national leaders in Bangalore, where a three-day convention to strategize forthcoming elections ended on Sunday.
Elections in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram are due by the end of this year. National elections are due by May next year.
The latest serial blasts have put the Congress party-led United Progressive Alliance on the defensive, especially since the home ministry had turned down proposals from several states, including BJP-ruled Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, for a more stringent terror law. “It is the government’s attitude to terror that is soft. The terrorists are striking at will,” BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said.
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The Congress, on its part, tried to shift part of the blame on the BJP. “All this is because of the hate politics generated by the demolition of the Babri Masjid (in 1992) and the post-Godhra (Gujarat riots of 2002) riots,” said Congress spokesman Veerappa Moily.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) politburo member S. Ramachandran Pillai, however, said, “The government should be held accountable.”
Political analyst Pratap Bhanu Mehta of Delhi-based think tank Centre for Policy Research said tougher terror laws are not the solution. “We have to see why, given all the laws we have to combat terror, they are not enough to produce the desired results,” he said.
“We know globally that there is no correlation between tough terror laws and desired outcomes.”
Other analysts said terror may not be a major poll issue. “Terror votes are frozen. Terror as an election issue may have lost much impact,” said N. Sathiyamoorthy, political analyst and director of the Chennai chapter of the Delhi-based think tank Observer Research Foundation.
Ruhi Tewari and PTI contributed to this story.
krishnamurthy.r@ livemint.com
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First Published: Sun, Sep 14 2008. 10 36 PM IST