Debating India

Uma ups the anti-Sonia ante

Sunday 16 May 2004

NEW DELHI: BJP and Sangh Parivar’s opposition to Sonia Gandhi becoming the next Prime Minister was on Sunday more strongly articulated with Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharati threatening a national movement to protest against a person of foreign origin occupying the top post, a view shared by former BJP ideologue K N Govindacharya.

BJP leader Pramod Mahajan and RSS spokesman Ram Madhav also opposed the Congress decision, saying it was a "wrong" move to back her for the prime ministerial post "without" the consent of the people.

Top BJP leaders will be meeting here on Monday to discuss post-poll developments as also the issue of Gandhi’s foreign origin.

While Sushma Swaraj and her husband Swaraj Kaushal have threatened to resign their Rajya Sabha membership if Gandhi was sworn-in as Prime Minister, Bharti said in Bhopal that a nationwide movement would be launched to protest against a person of foreign origin occupying the high office.

Mahajan associated himself with Swaraj’s views, saying that the prospect of the Congress President becoming the head of government was "not going down well" with political and even non-political people.

At a press conference here, Govindacharya who is on a sabbatical from BJP, announced the launching of a ’Rashtriya Swabhiman Andolan’ (National Self-Respect Movement) to mobilise public opinion to oppose the move by Congress and its allies.

He said the day Gandhi takes oath as Prime Minister should be observed as a "black day" by all political parties and individuals by wearing black badges and staging dharnas.

Govindacharya said what had shocked the nation was the "perverse" attempt by political parties to interfere and virtually undo the very identity of Bharat and that the emergence of Sonia Gandhi as a potential Prime Minister was a "disturbing factor that has grave implications for our identity as a nation and civilisation and brings back the memories of colonial days."

He said should she become the Prime Minister, the Movement will launch a series of programmes to create a mass awakening and to work for the restoration of India’s "Atma Gaurav" which is the casualty of "this cultural assassination of India by political parties interested only in power and office."

Govindacharya made "one last" appeal to political parties in the new coalition to reconsider their decision and choose a natural-born India citizen.

"We call upon self-respecting political leaders to leave their positions of power and fight this pernicious development like the leaders of Bharat’s freedom movement gave up their positions and fought to regain our freedom," he said.

Said Madhav: "Congress has done a wrong thing of placing a person of foreign origin for the prime ministerial post without the consent of the people. This is because of arithmetic. With the help of Left, the Congress is in a position to form the government and nobody is stopping it".

"But, there is also a larger question which is not only related to Sonia, but whether a person of foreign origin can occupy the highest office," he added.

See online : The Times of India

P.S.

in The Times of India, Sunday, May 16, 2004.

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