BJP, Cong slugfest over Rushdie issue

Rushdie had cancelled his visit to the Jaipur Literature Festival, saying he had received information that "paid assassins" had been engaged to eliminate him.

New Delhi: A political slugfest broke out on Monday over the Salman Rushdie controversy with the BJP slapping charges of "match fixing" on the Congress which hit back accusing the saffron party of playing a "dangerous" game
on a sensitive issue.

"It is a clear case of match fixing between intelligence
agencies and jehadis in which the Congress government of
Rajasthan played a supportive and active role," BJP`s chief
spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad said.

He said Congress was using the issue to gain political
mileage in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh. Prasad also alleged that
Congress deliberately communalised UP politics citing Digvijay
Singh, who termed the Batla House encounter as fake.

Arun Jaitley, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha said,
the government should have provided protection to
Rushdierather than stage managing his absence with a concocted
death threat.

Rushdie had cancelled his visit to the Jaipur Literature
Festival, saying he had received information from intelligence
sources in Rajasthan and Maharashtra that "paid assassins"
had been engaged to eliminate him if he turned up at the
literary meet.

Reacting sharply to the BJP attack, Congress spokesperson
Abhishek Singhvi said,"it is much more than a case of the pot
calling the kettle black or the thief accusing the
policeman...BJP`s talking about communalism is worse than
devil quoting the scriptures. It is utter hypocrisy of that

Singhvi said the government of India had made it clear
there was no ban on Rushdie visiting the country as he is a
PIO card holder and does not require a visa.

By raking up the Rushdie issue now, BJP is "flogging a
dead horse," Singhvi said while accusing the Opposition party
of playing a very dangerous game if it is saying that the
Rajasthan government should not have shared with or alerted
the Home Ministry or agencies about the inputs.

He said the same BJP would have then attacked Government
citing intelligence inputs if anything untward had happened.
Singhvi accused BJP of seeing every issue from the "prism
of communalism" and doing politics over a sensitive matter.


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