Modi dragging president’s office in elections: Chidambaram

Ahmedabad, Dec 14 (IANS) Gujarat Chief Minister was dragging the office of the president into the electoral politics by raising the issue of the pending decision on the handing of Afzal Guru, convicted for the 2001 attack on parliament, Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said here Friday.

Chidambaram said that a number of mercy petitions were pending before the president’s office, including that of those responsible for the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Support TwoCircles

While the petitions from Gandhi’s assassins were pending for seven years, that of Afzal was awaiting decision for a little over one year.

“By raising this issue Modi is dragging the office of the president into electoral controversy. This is unacceptable. The only reason behind this is a hidden agenda,” he told reporters here, adding it was only because of Afzal’s religion that the issue was being raked up.

In the run-up to the second and final round of polling in the Gujarat assembly elections Sunday, the state’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has attacked the Congress-led central government for the delay in Afzal’s hanging.

Chidambaram attacked Modi for his “divisive, sectarian, narrow, partisan and communal agenda” and said that these are the reasons for which his government must go.

He charged that the chief minister had divided Gujarati society and this divided society was visible during the electoral battle.

Chidambaram said that every election is fought on issues, programmes and performances. “Every government has its successes and failures. Unfortunately, all that has been swept aside. What I have seen on television and read in the newspapers has left me unhappy and perturbed,” he said.

The finance minister launched a scathing attack on the state government and said, “The BJP has turned all norms of democracy on its head. It has generated heat and controversy and incited raw communal passions.”