Friday, June 27, 2008

What a vulture and what a Ram

Lucknow: All is fair when it comes to battle of ballots. Even it amounts to lampooning Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. But the Kanpur unit of BJP might find the going tough this time. The alleged indecent portrayal of the two top leaders in posters put up by the saffron brigade in run up to Lal Krishna Advani's Kanpur rally on Friday, has sent UP Congress leadership in a huddle.
An upset UP Congress Commiittee chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi is already on a revenge trail. On Thursday she told journalists that UPCC is hold legal consultation. "We will take to task leaders named in the offending posters, whatever be their rank in BJP," she said. The UPCC will also aprise the election commission by lodging a formal complaint against the launch of highly defamatory campaign by the BJP prime minister nominee. The party will also petition president Pratibha Patil on the same issue, she added.

Several hoardings appeared in Kanpur at strategic locations en route Phoolbagh - the venue of the BJP rally. They show Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on the wings of a monstrous vulture. The same poster presents LK Advani as lord Ram aiming an arrow at the vulture. The top of the hoarding has snapshots of BJP leaders Raj Nath Singh, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Advani, while the catchline emblazoned across reads "mahangai ke vadh hetu manniya Atalji ka sandesh, Advani ji ke hath mei saunpo Bharat desh" (To eleiminate inflation here is a message from Atal Bihari Vajpayee, hand over India to Lal Krishna Advani).
"This is no way to refer to national leaders," Ms Joshi said. "We have had our share of differences with Vajpayee, but Congress, during the election campaign in Lucknow or else where, never stooped to such levels as to demonise him. We will not take this humiliation lying down."
As if on cue, Congress workers in Kanpur launched an offensive by burning effigies of Advani in Kanpur on Thursday. The district president of Kanpur Congress unit, Mohammad Aseem Khan, was quoted in a section of the press saying that as a mark of protest against the disrespect shown to their leaders, the Congress workers would burn Advani's effigies in all Parliamentary constituencies whenever Advani takes to the podium.
But BJP remains unrepentant. State BJP president Ramapati Ram Tripathi said the motive was not to hurt anyone. "They should not take things personally. In any case, I have not seen the posters and will consider taking the next step only after viewing them," he said. However his fire brand colleague and former UP BJP chief Vinay Katiyar ruled out any compromise. "These people are bleeding the country dry and we can't even point it out", he said . They are welcome to the court if they so want, he said.

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