SAD ally BJP distances itself from clemency demand for Rajoana

SAD ally BJP distances itself from clemency demand for Rajoana

Despite repeated personal requests from NDA partner and SAD Chief Parkash Singh Badal, BJP has distanced itself from the demand for granting clemency to Balwant Singh Rajoana, convicted for the assassination of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh.

Punjab Chief Minister Badal had earlier met BJP leaders L K Advani and Arun Jaitley to solicit their party's support for seeking clemency for Rajoana. He was accompanied by his son and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. Badal held a second round of meetings with the BJP top brass yesterday in another bid to change their opinion. Confirming this, Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj said she attended this meeting along with Advani and party leader Shanta Kumar.

However, the BJP stood firm on its stand. "BJP is clear on this issue. The rule of law needs to take its course," party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

The view in BJP on Rajoana's death sentence is that if it opposes the court order, then the party will have to give up its long standing demand that there should be no delay in hanging Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. The BJP has charged that the Congress-led UPA government is playing appeasement politics in not hanging Guru.

Shiromani Akali Dal is pursuing Rajoana's case due to reported anger among a large section of people of Punjab over the death sentence given to him. Rajoana was to be hanged on March 31.