The Democratic Front government in Maharashtra wants to use Kasab’s hanging to reposition its image that it is serious about tackling cross-border terrorism.
Both Congress and NCP leaders feel this would also silence the opposition BJP and the Shiv Sena.
“Let people judge who is committed to fighting terrorism,” chief minister Prithviraj Chavan of the Congress said.
“At least now the opposition should not politicise the Kasab issue,” he said.
Congress leaders in the state believe the “flawless execution of the death sentence” will improve the party’s image among the “aam admi”.
In the past four years, political rivals have always questioned the motives of the DF government, home minister RR Patil of the NCP said. “The opposition had even accused the government of engaging in delaying tactics to avoid the death sentence for Kasab,” he said.
Both parties have directed the state units to take an aggressive stand during the winter session of the assembly, which will begin from December 11, and turn the tables against the BJP and the Sena.
The broad talking points that have been circulated among members point out how the Congress and the NCP decided to hang Kasab as soon as the legal process was over.
In contrast, the BJP government at the Centre had to release three dreaded terrorists in 1999 for the safe return of passengers in the Kandahar hijack case.
Senior BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari, however, said the “government will have to convince us it is serious about fighting terrorism”.
“And if they are serious, what is preventing them from taking a hard decision against Afzal Guru, convicted in the Parliament attack,” asked one leader.
Bhandari scoffed at the idea of the Congress and the NCP blaming the BJP. “Their leader [home minister Sushilkumar Shinde] spilled the beans when he said the prime minister and the Congress chief had been kept out of the loop while deciding on the hanging,” he said.
“How could they not keep the PM informed about such a thing that has international ramifications. It is a serious matter.”