According to reports, the BJP initially gave soft reactions on the matter perhaps because it wanted to see its former ally Jayalalithaa cornering the UPA. It would also not oppose Jayalalithaa keeping in mind its own electroal interest in Tamil Nadu where it is a marginal force.
But on Thursday, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley criticised the decision in a strong manner, saying it was "unconscionable". What made Jaitley take a political risk by speaking against the Jayalalithaa government's action?
Modi reportedly warned BJP that backing Jayalalithaa would help the Congress
According to a report published in Anandabazaar Patrika, it was Narendra Modi who called up Jaitley to say that the BJP shouldn't indulge in such narrow politics and should instead stick to its stand against terrorism. He also warned Jaitley that if the Shiromani Akali Dal, another ally of the BJP also take a similar decision on terrorism tomorrow, what would the BJP do then?
It may be mentioned here that Modi himself has been speaking strongly against terrorism at various public rallies. It would be a setback for himself and the BJP if the latter tries to make a gain out of narrow politics which is being encouraged by a regional satrap like Jayalalithaa.
The BJP always had a vague stand on the issue of death sentence. While it has been vocal against people like Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru, it chose to remain more diplomatic on killers of Rajiv Gandhi or Balwant Singh Rajoana. But after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi took up the issue of his father's death and tried to generate some public sympathy by remarking "What the people will think if killers are set free?", Modi had to show the right path to his party and tackle the sensitive issue with care.
The Congress was targetting Modi for remaining silent on the issue but did they give a thought on why Jaitley suddenly targetted Jayalalithaa?