The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday hit out at Karuna Shukla, the niece of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, accusing her of politicising his death.
The BJP charge came a day after Ms Shukla accused the ruling BJP of politicising the former Prime Minister’s death by carrying the ashes across India for electoral gains in 2019 general elections.
“She (Karuna Shukla) is with the Congress and had also contested elections on their ticket. She is trying to politicise it (AB Vajpayee’s death). It is unfortunate… We believe this far beyond and above politics,” BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli told journalists.
“But we don”t see it as a political exercise. Some people have also pointed out why BJP is taking Atal’s ashes across the country. This is not the first time this has happened…it’s happened with several Prime Minister before Atal — Nehru’s ashes and Indira Gandhi’s ashes also went to several states,” Mr Kohli said.
“I think that opportunity to people to offer their homage is not a political opportunity but a mark of respect,” he said.
Meanwhile, several leaders across party lines and religious leaders of various faith offered floral tribute to the urns containing the ashes of former Prime Minister at BJP headquarters in Shillong.
Mr Kohli said the idea of taking Mr Vajpayee’s ashes to different states across the country was an opportunity for those who loved him and wish to pay their respects now that he is no longer with us. “It was opportunity for that.”
“Mr Vajpayee was the longest serving non-Congress Prime Minister. He was a person who was loved across party lines,” Mr Kohli said.