December 18, 2008 1:33:33 pm
At the centre of a firestorm he kicked off by questioning the circumstances of the death of Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare and linking the Malegaon blast probe to the Mumbai terror attacks, Union Minister for Minority Affairs A R Antulay sent a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today offering to resign if the UPA government so wished.
This was his second letter to the PM — the first one, sources said, was an “explanation” of his remarks.
While the Congress said the party and the government didn’t agree with these “personal views”, there’s a divide in the party with a section supporting the Minister saying his remarks were “blown out of proportion”. Another section, however, said Antulay’s remarks provide ammunition to Pakistan squeezed by the international pressure after the attacks.
In the Lok Sabha today, Vyalalar Ravi, with Antulay watching, said the government would make its position clear as the day went along. Said Pranab Mukherjee: “We will respond, maybe tomorrow… before the House adjourns next week we will respond.”
Earlier, there was talk of a “formulation” under which Antulay could propose “regret” of some sort but he declined to do so maintaining he wasn’t questioning the fact that the attacks were carried out by Pak terrorists but only asking how and why three senior officers went off together in the same car only to be killed. “I have been doing politics for 60 years,” Antulay told The Indian Express. Asked if the PM or Sonia Gandhi spoke to him, he said: “Nobody has spoken to me. If they feel any need, they can call me…I owe explanation to none. I have not said anything which has embarrassed the Government and the Congress party. In fact, I have helped the government…If I come to know I have embarrassed the government, then you know my nature is not to stick to positions.”
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