New Delhi: BJP on Tuesday said the row over granting of visa to controversial author Salman Rushdie was the creation of the Congress-led government at the Centre as it wanted to take political mileage ahead of the Assembly polls by first inviting him and then cancelling his visit.
"The Congress government had first proposed this idea
by inviting Rushdie for the literary festival in Jaipur and
now for political reasons it wants to dispose him," BJP
vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said when asked about the
On its part, Congress left it to the government to
take a call on the issue of visa. It, however, maintained
nobody`s religious sentiments should be hurt.
Rushdie was invited to the Jaipur literary festival
but the Deoband clerics demanded that he should not be issued
a visa. The celebrated author, who had earlier won the Booker
of Bookers, has won the ire of Muslim clerics due to his
controversial views on Islam.
"This was not the right time to call Rushdie to India
as he is a controversial figure and there are elections in
Uttar Pradesh and four other states. There would be tension
due to his presence," Naqvi said.
The BJP alleged that Congress has deliberately invited
him to annoy the Muslim clerics and will now not allow him to
visit India thus winning the support of the clerics.
"Congress is doing all this to take political mileage
ahead of the elections in UP," Naqvi said.
At the AICC briefing, Congress spokesperson Rashid
Alvi said, "No one should play with religious sentiments of
As far as the issue of visa is concerned, it is a
matter for the government to look into it and take a decision.
On its part, Government ruled out barring Rushdie from
visiting India as he holds a Person of Indian Origin (PIO)
card which entitles him to visit this country without a visa.