BJP slams loyalty declaration, Congress defends it

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New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) The BJP on Wednesday slammed the Congress over the submission of sworn declarations of loyalty by the latter’s legislators in West Bengal and said the move was a sign of “slavery” while the opposition party defended it as a “voluntary move”.

“It’s very unfortunate that to show their loyalty towards the Congress leadership, its legislators needed to sign on Rs.100 (non-judicial) stamp papers. This has happened for the first time in the country’s history,” Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya told reporters here.

“This is not loyalty towards leadership but a sign of slavery,” he added.

In an unprecedented move, all newly elected Congress legislators in West Bengal have given sworn written declarations that they will not leave the party.

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Vijayvargiya, incharge of the BJP affairs in West Bengal, said there was panic in the Congress due to mistrust of its leadership.

The Congress, which emerged as the main opposition party in the recent assembly elections, bagging 44 seats in the 294-member house, however, said it was a “voluntary move”.

“I have conferred with party general secretary C.P. Joshi. No instructions in this regard were ever issued by the All India Congress Committee or by general secretary incharge,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters here.

He said it was a voluntary exercise and nothing more should be read into it.

“It is not an exercise imposing the will of West Bengal Congress president (Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury).”

“If legislators by their own volition get together and reaffirm their commitment to their own party, it is a subject matter that the state unit and Congress Legislature Party (CLP) in West Bengal are able to handle themselves. Nothing more needs to be read into it,” he said.

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Surjewala cited examples from Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh to defend the move.

“There is background. Congress legislators were poached in contravention of the anti-defection law. Even otherwise, violating the constitution with impunity has become fashionable in this country,” he said.

“We saw what Prime Minister Narendra Modi did first in Arunachal Pradesh and then in Uttarakhand, for which the Centre faced a reprimand from the Uttarakhand High Court and the Supreme Court. We are still awaiting the verdict of the constitution bench in the Arunachal Pradesh case also,” the Congress leader added.



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