Attack on Joshi`s house was public`s immediate reaction: BSP leader

Refuting the Congress` allegation that UP CM Mayawati was behind the July 15 attack on state UPCC chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi`s house, a BSP leader said that the incident was an "immediate reaction by the public".

Updated: Jul 25, 2009, 14:45 PM IST

New Delhi: Refuting the Congress` allegation that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati was behind the July 15 attack on state Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi`s house, a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader said Saturday that the incident was an "immediate reaction by the public" against Joshi`s "offensive" remarks.
The BSP also alleged that the Congress leadership was trying to divert the attention from the real issue.

"So far the burning of the house is concerned, it was an immediate reaction by the public," said Vijay Bahadur Singh, BSP`s parliamentary party general secretary, shifting from the party`s earlier position that the attack was "a drama enacted at the behest of the Congress high command".

The BSP`s reaction came following Congress leader Digvijay Singh`s repeated demand for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) enquiry into the incident.

Referring to the anti-Sikh riots following the assassination of Indira Gandhi, Vijay Bahadur Singh told reporters: "Can they say the Congress party and Indira Gandhi are responsible for the violence in which scores of Sikhs were brutally killed?"

Joshi was arrested after being charged with denigrating Dalits and Mayawati in a speech July 14. On the same night, her house in Lucknow was set on fire, allegedly by a group of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) workers.

The state Congress chief was released from jail July 18 after being granted interim bail. Judgement on her petition seeking a CBI inquiry into the attack on her house was reserved by Allahabad High Court Friday.

Vijay Bahadur Singh said his party was not shy of facing a CBI inquiry and alleged that the Congress was trying to make it a political issue.

"They want to envelop the real issue under a political cover."

The Maywati government has order a Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department probe into the incident.

Alleging that Joshi`s remarks against Mayawati were an "insult to womanhood", Vijay Bahadur Singh said Joshi, Digvijay Singh and other top Congress leaders have admitted that the remark was a "blunder".