BJP on Monday attacked the Congress for its criticism of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's demand that the UPA government come clean over the Bhopal Gas tragedy.
"I do not think it is wrong to ask the Congress President and the Congress government to reveal the 'maut ke saudagar' (merchants of death) behind the Bhopal tragedy," BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy said at a press conference in New Delhi.
He wondered what prompted Congress spokespersons to "howl" when Modi "questioned the silence" of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and the Congress government on the Bhopal issue.
"They have every right to come back with a statement, but they cannot exhibit their desperation because they do not have an answer," Rudy said insisting that whenever such a question was posed there had to be an answer.
The main opposition also demanded that the Group of Ministers should find out details of how a chief minister, using his discretionary powers, allowed Warren Anderson, an accused in the Bhopal Gas leak case, to leave the state.
"We understand that Anderson needed to be taken away from Madhya Pradesh. There were other states where he could have been taken. What was the need to send him abroad," he asked.
Rudy said it would be impossible to believe that Anderson left the country without the knowledge of the then External Affairs Minister, a portfolio held by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. He said there were reports that Gandhi had received a communication from the US President on ensuring safe passage to Anderson.
Addressing a rally in Patna yesterday, Modi had sought to corner Gandhi asking her to break her silence and explain who was the 'maut ka saudagar' for its victims.
The statement of Modi, who borrowed the 'merchant of death' barb used by Gandhi during the campaign for 2007 Gujarat Assembly polls to attack the BJP leader for the 2002 riots in the state, drew a sharp reaction from the Congress which accused the BJP leader of practising "disruptive, divisive and a low level of politics".
The Congress criticised Modi for dragging the Congress chief into the case when she was not in politics at the time of the tragedy.
"Narendra Modi has always practised disruptive, divisive and a low level of politics and we reject his suggestions with contempt," Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan told reporters. PTI