BJP crows, targets Congress

BJP crows, targets Congress

By: || Updated: 31 Dec 2014 02:42 AM
New Delhi: The BJP brass on Wednesday scrambled to congratulate party president Amit Shah after a CBI special court exonerated him in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter cases.




The BJP demanded an apology from Congress president Sonia Gandhi for "misusing the CBI to fulfil its political interests" and for "conspiring politically to implicate Shri Shah".



Its statement, titled Truth Alone Triumphs, went on to say: "Congress cannot win politically, that is why the party has resorted to crooked modes to tarnish the image of Shri Shah. People of this country will never forgive for such despicable antics."



As soon as the news broke, the BJP mobilised its Delhi MPs and workers to organise a celebration. Crackers were burst and sweets distributed as Shah arrived at the Ashoka Road headquarters from Gujarat, where he was treated to a " chhappan bhog" (feast in which 56 dishes are served) in his village on Sunday.



Finance minister Arun Jaitley, who supported Shah legally and morally when he was in jail, posted an article "The Vindication of Amit Shah" on Facebook.



Jaitley alleged that the CBI's "probable purpose" in the Sohrabuddin case was to "try and implicate the political establishment of Gujarat, setting aside the pretence of federal character of India's governance. The CBI targeted Shri Amit Shah.... with the ultimate desire of implicating Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat".



"I was amongst the few voices which had consistently maintained in the past three years that the prosecution of Amit Shah was a case of 'No Evidence'.... I am relieved at the fact that we have an independent judicial system which has vindicated Amit Shah," he wrote.



Home minister Rajnath Singh tweeted: "The court's verdict vindicates our stand."



Another Union minister, Nitin Gadkari, said: "Amitji has been acquitted, very happy about that. I always maintained this but the Court said it today."



Sushma Swaraj, who is not known to be on best terms with Modi and Shah, was the only top minister who did not comment.



In 2010, Sushma, then the leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and NDA parliamentary party chairperson L.K. Advani were unwilling to raise Shah's arrest in Parliament. They allegedly argued that a public defence of Shah might undermine the BJP's image as a "responsible, law-abiding entity" that respected parliamentary and constitutional norms.



In July 2010, when Parliament's monsoon session was on, irked by the BJP's reluctance to speak on Shah's alleged "victimisation", Modi called a couple of senior leaders from Gandhinagar demanding to know if the issue would be taken up or not.



Consequently, the BJP spurned a lunch invite extended by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Advani, Sushma, Jaitley and Gadkari. Briefing the media, Sushma then said: "The government is bent on using the CBI against its political adversaries.... We decided against going to the lunch because discussions cannot be held in a vitiated atmosphere."



Then in February 2011, just before the budget session started, the BJP reconsidered its support for a GST regime alleging that Shah was being "hounded" by the CBI.



Gujarat Congress president Arjun Modhwadia today described the verdict as the beginning of " achche din (good days)" for BJP leaders, playing on Modi's campaign promise.



In Delhi, the Congress raised several questions about the acquittal. Spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said he would want to read the judgment in detail but pointed out that Shah had filed his discharge application after the elections, that the CBI had not hired a special public prosecutor to argue its case and that its lawyer had argued for only 15 minutes whereas the defence counsel argued for three days. "CBI & govt hav lot to answer," Singhvi tweeted.


Also read: Amit Shah discharged in Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case: 10 Quick Facts


Rights activist Father Cedric Prakash, who is based in Ahmedabad, described as "disturbing" the clean chit to Shah. "It is a tragedy," he said.

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