BJP adamant on Ekta Yatra; PM calls for restraint

With BJP adamant on hoisting the national flag at Srinagar`s Lal Chowk on Republic Day "at any cost" despite the state government`s warning, PM Manmohan Singh has called upon all to observe restraint in the combustive state.

Last Updated: Jan 22, 2011, 23:28 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi/Chandigarh: With BJP adamant on hoisting the national flag at Srinagar`s Lal Chowk on Republic Day "at any cost" despite the state government`s warning, PM Manmohan Singh has called upon all to observe restraint in a combustive state like Jammu & Kashmir.
In a veiled attack on the saffron party, PM Singh also said that, "It is not an occasion to score political points, to embarrass state and local administrations, to create situations that could lead to entirely avoidable problems, or to promote divisive agendas."

"It is my hope that all our citizens and political parties will heed this call and will do nothing that will
disturb peace and harmony, or detract in any way from the dignity of Republic Day," Singh said in a statement.

He said it was "all the more important to observe maximum restraint particularly in a sensitive state like Jammu and Kashmir."

Though he did not name anybody, he was apparently referring to BJP`s flag hoisting plan at Lal Chowk that has fuelled fears of trouble.

Meanwhile, BJP reacted with shock and disappointment to the Prime Minister`s disapproval of the plan accusing him of letting down the nation and said he will be emboldening separatists.

BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy while reacting to Singh`s statement said, "It (statement) is not only
disappointing and shocking but the PM has let down the nation by making such a statement, which is unbelievable."

He said that instead of supporting a "nationalist" cause launched by the BJP youth wing, the Prime Minister has sadly preferred to disapprove of it.

"We would like to know from the PM whether the act of hoisting and saluting the national flag anywhere on Indian soil is anti-national. By voicing such an insensitive reaction, the PM is emboldening the separatists, which will make them celebrate," Rudy added.

Rudy said BJP was more astonished that hoisting the flag is being equated by the PM to a scramble by parties to score political points.
In Srinagar, Police arrested six BJP activists for violating the prohibitory orders in force in the city.

The activists were pasting posters on the city walls as part of the flag hoisting plan.

BJYM President Anurag Thakur, who is leading the Yatra, told reporters in Chandigarh there is no change in the flag hoisting plan.

"We will go ahead with Rashtriya Ekta Yatra to Kashmir and hoist the national flag at Lal Chowk on Republic Day," he said.

Jammu was also placed under maximum security and the state`s borders with Punjab have been sealed to prevent entry of BJP youth activists into the city.

The Omar Abdullah government has made it clear that it will not allow hoisting of the national flag at Lal Chowk.

Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha`s(BJYM) Rashtriya Ekta Yatra, which will culminate with the hoisting of the Tricolour at historic Lal Chowk in Srinagar on January 26, today entered Himachal Pradesh. The Yatra started from Kolkata on Jan.12

With PTI Inputs