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Rita crossed all limits: BJP
Published on 16 Jul. 2009 11:15 PM IST
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BJP today condemned the alleged derogatory remarks of Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi against Chief Minister Mayawati and demanded an “apology” from Congress’ central leadership on the issue. “Rita had crossed all limits of a political attack against a rival and in the process forgot the dignity of women,” BJP Deputy Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj told reporters here. “She cannot get away with such comments,” she said, virtually justifying Joshi’s arrest. BJP has been at the receiving end of Mayawati’s ire in the Varun Gandhi hate speech case and a charge sheet was filed by the Uttar Pradesh government in the case yesterday. Claiming that the apology tendered by Joshi was “full of ifs and buts”, Swaraj demanded an apology from the central leadership of the Congress. “Congress cannot get away by simply disassociating itself from her remarks. An apology would only help it (Congress) gain more stature,” Swaraj said. Noting that it was “natural” for BSP members in both Houses of Parliament to be agitated, she said an apology from the Congress leadership would help calm tempers. When told that BJP was yet to apologise for the alleged hate speech made by Varun, Swaraj said the matter was sub-judice. “Let the judgement come. Don’t be impatient,” she said. To a poser on party leader Maneka Gandhi’s demand of imposition of President’s Rule in Uttar Pradesh, Swaraj said when the Aaonla MP made the statement, she was not aware of the remarks made by Joshi against Mayawati. “She was shocked when I told her about the remarks,” Swaraj claimed. Swaraj, however, criticised the burning down of the house in Lucknow where Joshi was staying. “Nobody should take law into their hands. But as Chief Minister Mayawati has assured of a probe into the incident, we will await the report. The report will show whether police failed to prevent the incident,” she said. Earlier, BJP vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi described the attack on Joshi’s house as “a mock fight” between the Congress and BSP to win Dalit votes and to divert the attention of the people from issues like drought and price rise. “BJP neither approves the speech of Joshi nor the violent reaction of the BSP. It is concerned that real issues are not being addressed,” Naqvi told PTI. “This incident is not for the good or welfare or security of the Dalit but a mock fight between the Congress and the BSP in their clamour for Dalit votes,” he said. Cong to launch protest The Uttar Pradesh unit of the Congress Thursday announced a state-wide protest beginning Friday against the arrest of its chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi and demanded the arrest of those involved in vandalism and arson at her residence here. “Criminal cases must be slapped against the BSP (ruling Bahujan Samaj Party) workers, who targeted the Congress leader’s residence late Wednesday. We demand immediate arrest of the BSP men involved in the incident,” senior Congress leader and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Ram Naresh Yadav told reporters. “From Friday, in every district of the state our party workers will carry out massive campaigns against the autocratic functioning of the (BSP) government,” he added. The Congress will also seek Governor T.V. Rajeswar’s intervention in this matter. “A delegation of Congress activists will shortly meet the governor to apprise him about the political vendetta unleashed by Mayawati against our party leader,” said Yadav. Joshi was Thursday sent to Moradabad jail on 14-day judicial custody on the charge of insulting Chief Minister Mayawati. She was booked under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act for her alleged derogatory remarks against the BSP chief. A mob ransacked Joshi’s house in the state capital and set it ablaze late Wednesday night - around the same time as her arrest near Ghaziabad.

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