NEW DELHI-: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has accused Congress (I) of “sabotaging” the moves for a united front of various political parties for the Punjab elections by “unilaterally” announcing its decision to boycott the polls.

The BJP vice-president Mr Krishan Lal Sharma said thereon Friday that the Congress (I) should in all fairness have taken the BJP CPI and CPI(M) into confidence as the four parties had earlier agreed to work on a joint strategy for Punjab.

According to Mr Sharma despite ideological differences the state units of the BJP CPI(M) and CPI had decided to evolve a joint strategy for the polls in view of the extraordinary situation prevailing in the state The state level leaders had also jointly met the President and the Chief Election Commissioner.

After this a consensus had been arrived at to contest the Punjab polls if the polling date was postponed beyond June 20 and to work out a strategy for one to one contests against militants. “The sudden declaration of the Congress (I) has come as a setback to the united efforts of nationalistic forces opposed to terrorism and secessionism” Mr Sharma said.

He added that all these parties had paid a high price in terms of the lives of their leaders and workers while fighting terrorism. The move to contest the polls jointly was a continuation of this fight and should have been accepted by the national leadership of all the major parties.

He said the BJP still held that the situation in the sensitive border slate warranted a common action play by nationalist forces but was “doubtful” of the success of unity moves after the backing out of the Congress (I). He ruled out an alliance between the BJP and any of the Akali factions.

Mr Sharma said the BJP would begin its campaign in Punjab on June 1 provided there was full deployment of security forces by then. It would contest nine Lok Sabha seats and 60 Assembly seats. The party would not contest the seats of Sangrur Bhatinda Ropar and Taran Taran he added.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 10, 1991