BJP dares UPA to invoke Art 356 in Orissa and Karnataka

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New Delhi, Sep 19 (UNI) Describing the Centre's move to issue directives to Karnataka and Orissa governments under Article 355 as ''discriminatory'', the BJP today challenged the Manmohan Singh government to use Article 356 in the two states.

''The entire action is politically motivated, highly prejudicial, patently discriminatory,'' BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

He said it was also a belated attempt by the UPA government to divert the popular attention over its abject failure to take strong and effective measures to contain terrorism.

Earlier, attacking the Centre for threatening to use Article 355 in Orissa and Karnataka, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi accused the government of ''playing vote-bank politics to please the Madam (referring to Congress president Sonia Gandhi).'' ''Why did the government not think of imposing the said Article when Hindi-speaking people in Assam were being targeted or when Nandigram was burning for months. Why was not there any talk of Article 355 in Jammu and Kashmir?'' he said, speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of an orientation programme on climate change, being conducted for senior Gujarat government officers at TERI here.

Mr Prasad said the Centre's action was not only an abuse of constitutional provisions but it exhibited its ''rank double standards''. He referred to the killing of Hindi speaking and other bona fide residents of the Congress-ruled Assam.

He said it was only because of vote bank politics that the Congress government did not take any action despite the Supreme Court directive to protect Assam from ''external aggression'' due to continued illegal migration of Bangladeshis, when it struck down the controversial Illegal Migrants (Determination through Tribunal) Act.

Another example was that of Nandigram in West Bengal where the Left government unleashed a reign of terror on innocent protests.

Besides, it remained unmoved when Hindi speaking people and North Indians were targeted and their property damaged in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra. ''But it never thought of invoking Article 355,'' he pointed out.

Mr Prasad said the BJP government in Karnataka and BJP-BJD government in Orissa, both duly elected, were taking all adequate steps to ensure the safety of the lives and properties of all people irrespective of their caste and religion.

If the vindictive attitude of the UPA government continued, ''we are sure that the people would give a befitting reply to it in the coming Lok Sabha election,'' he added.

In reply to a question that the attacks on minority community and places of worship in these states were state-sponsored, Mr Prasad said Nagaland and Mizoram were two minority-dominated states where the BJP had a sizeable following. ''The charges are just politically motivated,'' he said.

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