Attacking the United Progressive Alliance on the delay in executing Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the government was indulging in 'votebank politics as hanging Guru does not suit its interests.
Modi's comments came a day after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi defended his party, saying Afzal will be hanged when his turn comes.
"Out of the 29 persons who are on death row, cases of 26 have been processed and only three cases including that of Afzal Guru are pending, Modi told a National Democratic Alliance 'Maha Rally' at Ludhiana, which witnessed a major show of strength with party stalwarts and alliance leaders attending it.
Rahul Gandhi, while addressing a rally at Mohali in Punjab on Saturday evening, had said that Afzal Guru was twenty second on the list of those to be hanged.
"There is a huge line and there are others before him. When his number (turn) comes, he will be hanged," he had said.
Modi launched a blistering attack on the Congress, saying, "During the Congress' regime, there is a huge line for everything, be it for getting ration cards, gas connections... Congress general secretary (Rahul) says Afzal is in queue. Never before have we heard that there is a queue even for hanging a person. This is unfortunate for the country".
Countering Rahul Gandhi's overtures to woo Sikhs during his election rallies in Punjab, Modi said if the party is so concerned about the community then why had the then Congress regime shown 'haste' in carrying out the death sentence of a Sikh youth, who was charged with the killing of the then Army chief General Vaidya in the 1980s.
"The Sikh youth's family had submitted a mercy petition after he was awarded the death sentence by the Supreme Court, but your (Rahul's) family's government took just 15 minutes to decide in the Cabinet to hang him and 24 hours later he was hanged," he said.
The BJP leader also raked up the Quattrocchi issue, saying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said that a person against whom no crime has been established cannot be harassed unnecessarily. "I want to ask the prime minister that why in the midst of elections was he worried about Quattrocchi being harassed and cleared his file, but (still) remains silent when lakhs of our Tamil brothers are going through a tough time in Sri Lanka," Modi asked.
"(External Affairs Minister) Pranab Mukherjee was sent to Sri Lanka, but he spent just four hours there and came back without any concrete results. I want to ask the prime minister, why you are silent when lakhs of Tamils are going through a difficult time," Modi said, referring to the unrest in the island nation.
Taking a dig at Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, Modi said he has not seen a leader who goes on indefinite fast, "but starts it after breakfast in the morning and ends it even before lunch time".
With the UPA hard-selling the growth in agriculture sector and making it a poll issue, Modi claimed that India had to, "import foodgrains, a scenario which is just the opposite of when our stocks were surplus, when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the prime minister".
Modi also lashed out at the UPA for allegedly putting into cold storage the issue of inter-linking of rivers. "In Gujarat, my government has linked 20 rivers and now throughout the year, water flows in them and farmers are happy as they get adequate water for their fields. If the NDA comes to power, we will go ahead with the programme of linking rivers nationally," he said.