NEW DELHI: The BJP on Monday slammed the Congress on the Salman Rushdie issue alleging that the ruling party was trying to draw political mileage in the UP elections from the controversy.
BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad hit out at the Congress saying: “It is a case of match-fixing between intelligence agencies, the Centre and the state government of Rajasthan, which has played a supportive role.”
He cited seemingly contradictory statements emanating from different quarters to buttress his claim. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had said his government had received six messages from the IB on the threat.
“At the same time, Maharashtra DGP has gone on record saying they had not provided any input to Rajasthan in this regard,” Prasad said. Also, he said, the Rajasthan Government had not denied statements of Rushdie and the sponsors of the Jaipur Literature Festival about intelligence inputs that ‘paid assassins from Mumbai could target him’.
“With this background, it is necessary to know who is speaking the truth,” Prasad said. The BJP spokesperson said the entire episode had raised questions over the ‘integrity and credibility’ of the intelligence agencies.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, meanwhile, said: “The government should have provided protection to Rushdie rather than stage-managing his absence with a concocted death threat.”
The BJP leader also recalled that the Congress was ‘resorting to communal politics’ so that ‘it could help the party in the coming Uttar Pradesh elections’.
He also said that Rushdie had been in India on several occasions in the past, but there were no protests. He also questioned the timing of the present controversy.