The Congress picked on the absence of three chief ministers of the BJP-ruled states at the National Integration Council (NIC) meeting here on Monday.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was the only chief minister from the BJP-ruled states, while three BJP chief ministers -- Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh and Goa CM Manohar Parrikar -- skipped the meet.
Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde told the media: “Every state has the responsibility, every chief minister has the responsibility and every CM should have come. Their presence was very necessary...And there was more urgency for people like Modi to have come. I don’t know why he did not come. He must have some reason. But as a CM, he should have come.”
Reacting to it, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “Our senior leaders like L K Advani, leaders of opposition Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley and, Chouhan attended the meeting. They represented the BJP.”
Addressing the meet, Chouhan said the root of communal violence rested in vote bank politics. “One group or organisation should not be made a scapegoat and held responsible for instances of communal violence,” he said.
Chouhan also expressed his concern over the spread of cyber terrorism and crimes through social media platforms and advocated for an effective law to check the menace.
“Our view is that justice is for everybody, opportunities are for everyone and refusal to no one. Our vision is clear. We believe that the immediate frenzy of communalism has a root in vote bank politics.”
He defended the BJP-ruled states saying, “If you see the facts you will see that these states do not nurture religion as vote bank...These states have been free of communal riots in the last decade because they do not indulge in politics of separation and neither has the administration been compelled to take sides with any particular religious community.” Though Raman Singh did not attend the meeting, his speech was read by State Home Minister Nankiram Kawar.
Meanwhile, the ‘friendly’ meeting between Advani and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at the NIC meeting venue did not go unnoticed. Nitish was meeting Advani for the first time since parting ways with the BJP.