New Delhi: The BJP has taken strong exception to Congress party's charge of Vajpayee govt mishandling the Kandahar hijack episode.
Addressing a press conference, party spokesperson and newly elected Rajya Sabha member MJ Akbar said that the decision to release terrorists was taken after evolving a consensus among political parties.
"It is regrettable, but perhaps their (Congress's) occasional amnesia, where it suits them. On Kandahar, consultations were held at the highest level by senior leaders of NDA. It was a national crisis. In the spirit of the Vajpayee government, consultations were held with all the parties," he said.
“Should 400 passengers been left to die. Is this Congress wants to say?” asked Akbar.
Terming the Gujarat riots issue "totally irrelevant", BJP accused Congress of raking it up for its "political survival" and demanded that the opposition party apologise to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for questioning his "integrity".
The reaction came in the wake of Congress latching on to claims by former RAW chief AS Dulat to demand that Modi "respect the words" of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and offer an apology to the country.
BJP, however, insisted that every court had investigated Modi's role and found nothing against him and added that the opposition party raises the 2002 riots issue when it can find nothing else to say.
"I think time as well as all that has happened has made that question completely irrelevant. Congress has used every method and every strata of the administration, as well as the courts and every court, including Supreme Court, has done 10 years or more of the most thorough investigation... and found nothing against the present honourable Prime Minister.
"In fact, Congress should apologise for raising questions about his integrity," said MJ Akbar.
He said that if thorough investigation was undertaken into the riots under Congress rule, many of its leaders would not be in their homes.
"Indeed, it occurs to me that if, on the riots under Congress, one-hundredth of the investigations had taken place against those who are responsible, a lot of VIPs would not be in their homes," charged Akbar.
The ruling party also outrightly rejected Dulat's claims about the alleged "goof up" of the IC-814 hijacking case in 1999. It also rebutted claims of the ruling party compromising with terrorists and terrorism.
Claiming that Congress has a "very convenient memory" on Kandahar, Akbar said the decision to save the hijacked Indians was taken after consultations with everyone.
BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma also accused Congress of raking up "dead issues" for its political survival and charged the opposition party with allowing Warren Andersen, who was responsible for thousands of deaths in the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, to escape scot-free.
"Congress is devoid of issues and is trying to borrow them and rake up dead issues," he said.
Reacting to former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), AS Dulat's revealtion that the 1999 IC-814 hijack was "goofed up", the Congress on Friday wanted to know whether the NDA government under former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had paid a ransom to the Taliban for the release of passengers on Indian Airlines Flight 814, which had been hijacked and flown to Kandahar, Afghanistan.
There is no doubt that IC-814 episode was badly handled by the Vajpayee government, but the moot question which has still not been confirmed is did the then government pay a ransom to the Taliban to get the passengers released?There have been lots of stories about alleged suitcases being carried but what was the truth, the nation should know," Congress leader Manish Tewari said.
Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar on Friday said that Dulat's interview had revealed "disturbing facts."
"They have compromised the interests of the country whenever they have been in power. Who was behind these decisions? The prime minister should break his silence and apologise to the country," Kumar said.