Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa Thursday came under fire from political parties over her decision to release former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s killers with Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar saying that the move proved that she was “not capable of becoming the PM of the country”.
“Jayalalitha hopes to benefit from this decision in the next elections. But with this decision, she has proved that she is not capable of becoming the PM of the country,’ Aiyar told reporters outside Parliament while at the same time stating that, “I will be happy if the death sentence is done away with”.
His party colleague and Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath said it was an instance of “injustice by the state government”.
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It is “a very wrong decision… no state government should do it,” she added.
Slamming Jayalalithaa, Congress MP Hanumanth Rao said that, “Keeping the upcoming parliamentary polls in mind she wanted to release those persons who killed Gandhi. So, what will happen to the killers of common men?
“This is vote-bank politics and not in the interest of nation.”
Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury termed the decision “bizarre” and questioned the motive behind it with the Lok Sabha polls drawing closer.
As to the delay in deciding the mercy petitions, she said, “There are pros and cons while deciding on mercy petitions.
But how can you say that because of the delay in addressing the mercy petitions, the state government decided (to release the convicts).”
Meanwhile, talking about the Supreme Court order commuting the death sentence of Gandhi’s killers, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav said, “I do not agree with it. Judicial process takes time in the country. There should be one law for all, be it convicts like Afzal Guru or those from Punjab.”
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said, “It is a matter of concern. Gandhi was not only Rahul’s father but a PM of the country. We should not show this kind of slackness in dealing with such cases.”
RJD leader Ramkirpal Yadav said, “Even the killers of a common man should not be released. Here it involves a person who was prime minister of the country.
“Gandhi was assassinated and now the Tamil Nadu government has decided to release the killers. It is a matter of concern and not in the interest of the nation.”
SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav, for his part, raised questions about the fate of thousands of prisoners whose cases have been pending for more than 20 years.
“(There are) cases pending for the last 20 years. So, on the basis of this judgement, all pending cases should be terminated,” Yadav said while adding that it had been “irresponsible on the part of the government to delay on the mercy petitions.”
At an AICC briefing, party spokesman Shashi Tharoor dismissed suggestions that Congress was isolated in Tamil Nadu over the issue of whether Rajiv Gandhi’s killers should be released.
The roots of Congress are “very, very deep” in Tamil Nadu due to the values and principles propagated by the party, he said.
“We do not play politics with terrorism. We do not give any quarter to it. Acts of terror directed at Indian citizens must be firmly resisted. We do not see any difference in one kind of terrorism from another,” he said.