New Delhi: Staging a strong protest over Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's "saffron terror" remarks, BJP on Wednesday said the comments were part of a conspiracy to divide the nation for vote bank politics and demanded an apology.
Stepping up the attack on Shinde ahead of the Budget Session of Parliament starting tomorrow, BJP president Rajnath Singh questioned the Home Minister's intentions in making such a provocative statement.
"This comment of the Home Minister is part of a conspiracy to divide the nation for vote bank politics," Singh said, addressing a large number of protesting party workers at Parliament Street here today.
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said the Congress was indulging in "communal polarisation" through such remarks.
"The Congress and UPA vote bank is contracting. Shinde wants to divide the nation on the basis of religion. They are trying to indulge in communal polarisation. The Home Minister made this statement with the intention of dividing the nation for votes and seek the vote bank of a particular religion," Jaitley said, addressing the protesting partymen.
Jaitley questioned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on how they have allowed such a Home Minister, who is giving Pakistan a reason to say that India is running terror camps, to function.
Singh also questioned the intentions of Shinde to make such provocative comment and appealed to the countrymen "to understand the conspiracy behind making such a statement."
He accused the Congress of doing vote bank politics and warned the government "not to play with the sentiments of people for the sake of votes."
"Don't think Indians as votes and vote banks," Singh said, adding that the Indian population will not allow such a thing.
Jaitley said the BJP has taken to the streets against Shinde for his remarks and unless he takes them back and make a public apology the party will not let him do politics.
Meanwhile, reports said Shinde is likely to talk to BJP leader Sushma Swaraj to find a way out to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament during the Budget Session beginning tomorrow.
Sources said Shinde has conveyed to Swaraj, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, that he will talk to her to find a way out on the saffron terror issue to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament.
"Both sides will make efforts to find a way out for the house to function," BJP veteran LK Advani said after the all-party meeting convened by Speaker Meira Kumar ahead of the Budget Session.
First Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013, 16:13