14 Apr : The BJP has said it will cancel the Setu Samudram Shipping Channel Project taken up by the Congress-led UPA at the Centre, if it is voted back to power.Addressing an election meeting at Bhadrak in Orissa on Tuesday, BJP president Rajnath Singh said they would drop the project if party-led NDA returns to power.
"We are committed to protect the country’s heritage, including the Ram Setu," he said.The project had sparked a controversy following possible destruction of Ram Setu during laying of the channel.
Holding the Congress "responsible" for price rise of essential commodities, Singh said the poor had become poorer under the UPA rule.Attacking former ally BJD, the saffron leader said it had played the role of a "traitor" by unilaterally breaking the 11-year-old alliance.
"BJD will face the fate of JD(S) in Karnataka," he added.
"People betray us. We (BJP) never betray anyone," he said, adding the regional party would suffer defeat in the ensuing Lok Sabha and assembly polls for its "act of betrayal."
Desperation and frustration clear in Congress: BJP
The BJP has said "desperation and frustration" in the Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha polls was "clearly reflected" in its constant attack on party’s prime ministerial candidate L K Advani.
"This is (statements of Congress leaders) a clear reflection of their desperation and frustration for failing to answer about their five years of misgovernance," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said at a party briefing in New Delhi on Tuesday.
He was referring to the statements of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, raising questions about the leadership qualities of Advani.
He said it only proved that Congress was trying to deflect attention from the basic issues of terrorism, food economy and minority appeasement.
Speaking about the spurt in terror strikes in Assam, Prasad said, "If Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cannot ensure security in Assam from where he has been a Rajya Sabha member for 19 years, how can he be trusted to secure the entire country against terrorism and extremism."
He said Singh has not been able to answer queries on two "critical issues"– increasing unemployment and the high prices of essential commodities — "despite claims of record production of foodgrains."
To a question on Rahul’s claim that Advani either buckled under pressure or was not taken into confidence by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the release of terrorists during the Kandahar hijack episode, Prasad said the "painful decision" was taken during an all-party meet.
He said that the then External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, who accompanied the terrorists to Kandahar as a senior politician, was required there to take "emergency decisions" since that place had no "civilised government."
Prasad, while referring to a recent statement of Sonia Gandhi that people within the country were more dangerous than foreign terrorists, asked her to clarify whether "she was pointing at Indian Mujahideen, SIMI or the BJP."
"Such a statement at a time when we are having daily exchange of letters with Pakistan (on the Mumbai terror strikes) would only embolden terrorists and their handlers across the border," he said.
When asked about the killings of party candidates in UP and Madhya Pradesh, he said the Election Commission should take effective steps to ensure the candidates’ safety.