Tehelka issue: BJP, Congress adopt cautious approach

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Ahmedabad, Nov 2: Both ruling BJP and opposition Congress may have adopted a ''cautious approach'' after the Tehelka expose but several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are demanding the arrest of BJP, VHP and Bajrang Dal leaders caught in the sting operation.

BJP leaders, in fact, are delighted by the expose and said that it will help the Party in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections. A few of Modi's supporters said that rebels will find it difficult to join hands with Congress.

All dissident BJP leaders are virtually mum after the expose and are planning their further action. The state Congress leadership refused to comment over the issue and told media that the Central leadership had already given their views.

''All BJP, VHP and Sangh Parivar leaders, caught on tape are not supporters of Mr Modi. They are supporters of dissident groups,'' a BJP leader said and added that Congress might not support or give tickets to dissident BJP leaders fearing a backlash from the minority community, which has a significant presence in several central and south Gujarat assembly seats.

BSP, the only major political party which virtually had no stakes in Gujarat, is keen to open an account in the forthcoming elections, and has filed a complaint with the Election Commission (EC) on the sting operation.

The EC has been studying the impact of the sting operation on BSP's complaint and may take some action.

The minority community in Ahmedabad, is not happy with the timing of the telecast of the sting operation and felt that it might bring back the BJP agenda on track.

''As members of civil society, we are protesting against those, who have disgraced the name of Gujarat. We are demanding the immediate arrest of all those who were caught in the Tehelka expose,'' Director of NGO Prashant, Cedric Prakash said.

The state Congress leadership is avoiding the issue as during the 2002 elections Mr Modi had come to power with two-thirds majority when the Congress had described him as a ''murderer'' after 2002 post-Godhra riots. This is the main reason that the Congress is unwilling to make it an election issue.

''Mr Modi has a habit of engineering such things to suit himself. We fear this sting might have been sponsored by Mr Modi himself,'' Leader of Opposition in Gujarat Assembly, Arjun Modhvadia said.

On the other side, Chief Minister is not reacting to any of the issues related with the Tehelka expose. He is projecting himself as a ''Vikaspurush''(development man) and is not getting into any debate on the riots. Even during his nearly five-year tenure after Godhra, he has always avoided talking on the post-Godhra riots.

UNI

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