The party has deployed big guns to thwart criticism from the Opposition although nothing concrete has been ascertained yet in terms of political affiliations of the shooters.
Hours after journalist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead by unidentified assailants in Bengaluru, the BJP went into overdrive to counter allegations of involvement of Hindutva forces in the ghastly crime.
The party has deployed big guns to thwart criticism from media and the Opposition although nothing concrete has been ascertained yet in terms of political affiliations of the shooters. No arrest has been made in connection with the murder either. The party’s nervousness could be linked to the impending assembly elections in Karnataka, where it is hoping to make a comeback.
To start with, the BJP has put up a strong defence by accusing the state government of failing in law enforcement.
Sources said that with Karnataka assembly polls scheduled for early next year, the BJP doesn’t want to take chances and let the allegations surrounding the murder case spiral out of control as was the case with the intolerance debate and the imposition of Hindi controversy.
Party leaders from Karnataka started reacting within minutes of the murder. Parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar and former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa had condemned the killing Tuesday night itself.
The central leadership, including home minister Rajnath Singh and I&B minister Smriti Irani, also expressed their condolences. While Singh sought a report from the state government, Ananth Kumar came to the party office to speak exclusively on the murder of the Kannada journalist.
“Chief minister Siddaramaiah is requested to have a detailed investigation into this heinous killing and the culprits should be arrested and punished severely. In the last two-and-a-half years, Karnataka is witnessing such murders. Prof. Kalburgi’s murder and 18-19 other political killings speak volumes about the law and order situation in Karnataka. The CM has failed to ensure fast-track investigations in these cases,” added Kumar.
His cabinet colleague Nitin Gadkari strongly countered allegations that people connected to the BJP could be behind the crime. “BJP or any of its affiliates have nothing to do with such heinous acts. Allegations made by a senior Congress leader are baseless and false,” said Gadkari.
While the Congress has pointed the finger at the BJP over Lankesh’s murder as she was once convicted in a defamation case filed by a BJP leader, the latter would try to link Tuesday’s incident to “deteriorating law and order situation” in the state, said a senior party leader.