Congress cries foul on Advani's visit to Meghalaya

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Shillong, Nov 10 (UNI) Chief Minister Donkupar Roy today countered the tirade launched by Opposition Congress in the Meghalaya Assembly against the state government's hospitality accorded to BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate L K Advani during his visit here on September 29.

Former chief minister D D Lapang and Congress legislator Friday Lyngdoh felt that the state government should not have accorded such a warm welcome to Mr Advani in the ''Christian State of Meghalaya'' for his stance on anti-minorities, including Christians.

''A Christian state of Meghalaya ruled by Christian ministers and chief minister should not accord such preferential treatment to the leader of a party, which was allegedly behind the torture of minorities in other states,'' Mr Lapang told the Assembly.

Senior Congress legislator Friday Lyngdoh, who objected the state-sponsored hospitality to the BJP leader said, ''Advani's party has a policy which is not warm towards the minorities, including the Chrisrtians,'' he said even as he raked up the issue of anti-Christian violence in Orissa and Karnataka.

The chief minister, who heads the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA), which comprises the BJP among other parties, however, took a dig at the Opposition, saying, this was against all Christian teachings and that a ''Christian should not react this way''.

''I am myself a Christian and I have never been taught to react this way,'' Dr Roy said, amidst thunderous applause of members of the ruling coalition who thumped their desks in agreement.

Informing the House that the state government's arrangement for elaborate security for Mr Advani's visit was followed under strict instructions from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, the Chief Minister said, ''Advani's threat perception is of the highest order as he faces serious threats from ISI-backed Islamic fundamentalists and J&K militants. Moreover, there was also an e-mail threat against his visit in the city''.

He added, ''Similar arrangements were made for the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, when he came to campaign for his party prior to the Assembly elections earlier this year.'' Advising the Opposition not to link Mr Advani's visit with the anti-Christian violence in Orissa and Karnataka, the CM reminded the House that he had written letters to the Prime Minister and the Orissa CM expressing concern over the incidents.

Earlier, Leader of Opposition and former CM D D Lapang (Congress) alleged that the Chief Minister and State Planning Board chairman P A Sangma had both ''lowered the dignity and decorum'' of the ''Christian State'' by calling upon Mr Advani at a private hotel in the city.

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