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ELECTIONS 2004

BJP attacks, but ’off-the-record’

Thursday 20 May 2004

NEW DELHI : A day after Congress president Sonia Gandhi decided not to accept the prime ministership, thereby taking the wind out of the sails of BJP’s foreign origin issue, the party on Wednesday decided against an official press conference. Instead, BJP preferred an off-the-record briefing which it could use to make unsubstantiated innuendoes against Sonia Gandhi.

First, it questioned her Indian citizenship, claiming she had never renounced her Italian citizenship, adding that, therefore, she did not have the right to be even an MP. Asked why BJP had not raised the issue when she was elected as an MP five years ago, BJP leaders said, "Why did Sonia Gandhi take from 1991 to 1998 to join politics?"

Deprived of any substantive issue, BJP appears to be trying to flog a dead horse and an issue that was settled by the SC.

Fazed by the positive press that Sonia Gandhi got on Wednesday morning, BJP claimed that there was no element of renunciation in her giving up prime ministership. Instead, even as Rashtrapati Bhavan was officially denying news reports that President? had raised the citizenship issue with her when she met him, a BJP spokesperson insisting that Kalam had refused to swear her in.

Sources said the fact that the President had written to Sonia, requesting her to meet him at her convenience for discussions showed that he had no reservations about her citizenship. For BJP, it will be a long while before it can accept defeat and begin the process of atmachintan.

See online : The Times of India

P.S.

in The Times of India, Thursday, May 20, 2004.

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