PM`s remark an attempt to `suffocate democracy`: Anurag

Taking strong exception to PM Manmohan Singh`s advice to parties not to use the solemn occasion of Republic Day to score political points, BJYM President Anurag Thakur said his remark was an attempt to "suffocate democracy".

Last Updated: Jan 23, 2011, 20:45 PM IST

Shimla: Taking strong exception to Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh`s advice to parties not to use the
solemn occasion of Republic Day to score political points,
BJYM President Anurag Thakur Sunday said his remark was an
attempt to "suffocate democracy".

In a statement here, Thakur, currently leading the `Ekta
Yatra` to hoist tricolour at Lal Chowk in Srinagar on the
Republic Day, said he was "appalled" at the "ugly" designs of
Congress and Jammu and Kashmir government for scuttling the
peaceful march aimed at promoting national integration.

The comments come a day after the Prime Minister asked
parties to desist from scoring political points or promoting
divisive agenda and exercise maximum restraint to ensure that
peace is not disturbed in a "sensitive" state like J&K.

Thakur, son of Himachal Chief Minister PK Dhumal,
described the remarks of the Prime Minister as "blatant
disregard to the aspirations and freedom of Indian youth and
an attempt to suffocate democracy."

Condemning the arrests of BJP leaders in J&K, he said
it was an act of "clear-cut desperation" and his party`s
resolve to go ahead with the yatra would remain unshaken.

"We are leading a peaceful yatra and received
overwhelming response of people across 11 states and carrying
forward the aspirations of the people and fail to understand
how it could be termed as an attempt to score political
points," he asked.

Thakur, who traversed through Hoshiarpur, Amritsar and
Jalandhar today, said, "Republic Day is indeed a solemn
occasion and that is the reason we have chosen this as a
moment to reassert national integrity and sovereignty and
tell to the world that Kashmir is an integral part of India
but the Prime Minister is trying to demoralise our spirit."

Thakur reiterated that the yatra would end with hoisting
of the National Flag at Lal Chowk on January 26 even though
the J&K government has announced that it would not allow
the yatra to reach Srinagar.

Determined to hoist the tricolour at Lal Chowk, BJP
earlier today accused the Prime Minister and the Omar
Abdullah government of "surrendering" to separatists and
displaying "disproportionate and panic reaction".

Firing a salvo at Singh, senior leader LK Advani said
BJP was "not trying to score a political point" but was
instead challenging the separatists who had vowed to block the
party`s plan to hoist the tricolour. "And the state is
surrendering to them," he said.

PTI