New Delhi: The Union government’s warnings to Orissa and Karnataka over attacks on Christians has invited Opposition’s ire, but Communist parties welcomed it, saying it was late but necessary.
The home ministry sent its directives to the two opposition-ruled states on Friday afternoon.
V.K. Malhotra, deputy leader of main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, in the Lok Sabha, said by issuing warnings against the opposition-ruled states under Article 355, the government was indulging in “vote bank politics”.
The ruling Congress party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) denied the charges. “We had warned all BJP-ruled states to desist or face constitutional consequences,” party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said.
Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM, general secretary Prakash Karat, welcomed the directives. “The government should have intervened earlier. It is late but was necessary,” Karat said.
Tough talk: Police personnel use force to disperse a mob that attacked churches in Mangalore on Sunday. The Centre has issued warnings to Karnataka and Orissa over the attacks. PTI
The Congress’ ally in the ruling UPA, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, or DMK, said the party has not taken a stance against the use of Article 355. “The DMK only opposes article 356 (which enables president’s rule),” it said. Article 355 says the Union government is bound to ensure state governments carry out their constitutional responsibilities.
Meanwhile, Punjab’s ruling party Shiromani Akali Dal, or SAD, a BJP ally at the Centre, opposed the home ministry’s interference in state issues. “Law and order is a state subject and it is the responsibility of the state government to act. As a larger issue, however, the Akali Dal is in favour of maintaining the federal character of India and is not in favour of use of central interference in state issues,” said Dalijeet Singh Cheema, secretary of SAD in Chandigarh.
While Orissa is ruled by Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal in alliance with the BJP, chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa-headed BJP government is in power in Karnataka.
(Bajinder Pal Singh contributed to this story.)