SP-BJP at daggers drawn over honouring riot-accused MLAs

Lucknow, Nov 19 : The BJP and ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh Tuesday traded charges with each other on the BJP's decision to felicitate its two legislators accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs Suresh Rana and Sangeet Som will be felicitated at the Nov 21 rally in Agra to be addressed by prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

Both Rana and Som were accused by the Akhilesh Yadav government of inciting violence in Muzaffarnagar, leading to riots that killed 63 people and displaced thousands. The National Security Act (NSA) was slapped on them but they were let off by the state advisory council which found not enough grounds for thiS.

BJP's state president Laxmikant Bajpayi said he found nothing wrong in the move, as the NSA slapped on the two legislators had been revoked by the state advisory board.

"We have always maintained that they were innocent and had no hand in the riots. The NSA has been revoked and soon other cases will fall flat in legal scrutiny," he said.

Senior party leader and legislator Kalraj Mishra too endorsed Bajpayi and said the Samajwadi Party was rattled at their decision.

The Samajwadi Party was losing the legal battles and were set for an electoral rout in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, he said.

"The BJP legislators are innocent and the felicitation is an expression of solidarity for what they went through in jail after being framed by the government," he added.

The Samajwadi Party, meanwhile, criticised the BJP and said its "true colours were now being exposed".

The Samajwadi Party's state spokesman and Prison Minister Rajendra Chowdhary said the BJP was trying to vitiate the atmosphere in the state by felicitating the accused MLAs.

He said any attempt to communally divide the state will be met with sternly.

"If the BJP or its leaders make any attempt to disrupt communal harmony in the state, the law of the land will act and thwart any such attempt," he added.

The two MLAs are currently on bail in other charges levelled against them.

Rana, meanwhile, said he felt proud that he will be felicitated by a leader of international fame like Modi.

--IANS (Posted on 19-11-2013)

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