The all-party resolution drafted under the watch of Home Minister Rajnath Singh to condemn the suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama may not have passed on Saturday if changes suggested to its last paragraph had not been rewritten at the insistence of the Trinamool Congress, which was immediately backed by the Congress and Samajwadi Party and finally, all parties.
The dissent may have passed unnoticed but for an outburst by Lalitha Kumaramangalam last night on NDTV, where the BJP member, invited to speak on the show Truth vs Hype, said, "There are people in this country who are soft when it comes to terror... I don't want to name names but you want names? I will give you names."
"What has Mamata Banerjee done today? She has diluted the statement that was originally prepared. Why? I would like to ask why? I don't want to make an accusation saying it's only because of her political ambitions. But many people are saying so and may be they are right," Ms Kumaramangalam said.
What she called "dilution" was felt necessary by several non-BJP parties present at the meeting on the all-party resolution called by Rajnath Singh.
Originally, the last line read, "Today we all resolve to stand with our security forces and efforts of the Centre and State Govt to ensure that these challenges are suitably and firmly responded to."
The phrases "challenges are suitable and firmly responded to" preceded by "Central and state government" raised eyebrows, said sources. The rest of the draft, sources said, was a statement of intent. This one sounded like a statement of action.
The original last line felt like a "blank cheque" to the government signed for "any further action", sources said, and could perhaps include war, emergency in the country or even put off elections, sources said. The "action points" were removed from the resolution at the insistence of Trinamool.
The Congress and Samajwadi Party backed the Trinamool on altering the last line. BJD and TRS representatives were ranged against any change. Finally, however, all parties were brought on board.
The final version read, "Today we stand united in solidarity with our security forces and defend the unity and integrity of India."
Ms Kumaramangalam spoke out in response to a question on the controversial comments by Minister of State for Home Jitender Singh. The BJP leader said he was talking about the Hurriyat, but on being pressed, she also named Mamata Banerjee.
Ms Kumaramangalam went on to say, "We have to give enough freedom to our intelligence agencies, to the Army to be able to do what they are supposed to do... protect the country... and its people regardless of where they are working, whether it is Kashmir or Tamil Nadu or Gujarat or West Bengal. We need to respect them and give them that free hand."
After returning to Kolkata, Mamata Banerjee asked the government to investigate any security and intelligence lapse that may have led to the attack. She also questioned why a meeting of all parliamentary parties had been called by the home minister and not of all political parties.
"Lok Sabha is over. So why parliamentary parties are called?" she said, adding, "There may be some game plan."
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