Caught in a Catch-22 situation on the eve of budget session, Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde expressed “regret” over his “terror” remarks against the BJP and the RSS which he had uttered at the Congress’s Chintan Shivir at Jaipur last month.
In a written clarification that was vetted by the Congress top brass and was, reportedly, also shown to the leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj, Shinde said, “My statement given in Jaipur last month has created a misunderstanding. It has been understood to mean that I was linking terrorism to a particular religion and was accusing certain political organisations of being involved in organising terror camps.”
“I had no intention to link terrorism with any religion. There is no basis for suggesting that terrorism could be linked with the organisations mentioned in my brief statement at Jaipur.”
Explaining further that indicates the BJP pressure to disrupt the parliament was telling on the Congress, Shinde said, “Since a controversy has been created on account of my statement, I am issuing this clarification and expressing regret to those who felt hurt by my statement. I will continue to perform my duties to the best of my ability to ensure that harmony is maintained in the social fabric of India.”
On the last day of Chintan Shivir, Shinde had attacked both BJP and RSS and said, “Reports have come during investigation that BJP and RSS conduct terror training camps to spread terrorism ... Bombs were planted in Samjhauta express, Mecca Masjid and also a blast was carried out in Malegaon.”
Expressing anguish, a belligerent BJP had threatened to carry out protest against Shinde in the Parliament and even boycott him in the Budget session, if he did not apologise.
Earlier Shinde had tried to pacify BJP by clarifying that “There is no colour to any terrorism” which failed to satisfy the BJP and helped it raise the bar by questioning the silence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and demanding Shinde’s apology or sacking.
Preparing the ground for a solution Prime Minister Manmohah Singh said this afternoon that he hoped to “find a constructive solution to all issues... All political parties have an obligation to ensure smooth passage of the session.” Within minutes, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath laid out the pitch saying that the government would discuss Shinde controversy with the BJP.
Congress led UPA government had turned wary about the smooth functioning of the budget session after Swaraj raised the issue at an all-party meeting today called by Speaker Meira Kumar and sought her intervention.
“Mr Shinde said the BJP and RSS runs terror camps... in that case, I have no right to be the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, we want the speaker to address this issue,” Swaraj said after the meeting.