BJP slams Omars invitation

Jammu: Irked by Jammu and Kashmir government thwarting its flag-hoisting plan, BJP today termed as "grand standing" Omar Abdullah`s invitation to its leaders to attend the Republic Day function even as seven party activists were arrested when they made a vain bid to unfurl the national flag in Srinagar.

Describing as "unfortunate" the detention of senior leaders Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Ananth Kumar in Jammu, BJP president Nitin Gadkari rubbished charges that the party was playing politics over hoisting the national flag.

Rubbishing the invitation of Abdullah to attend the Republic Day function, Jaitley told PTI over phone that how could he join the event when he was under arrest.

"We are under custody for the honour of national flag.

That is the way we celebrated the Republic Day. Many of activists were arrested or detained," he said.

"We are under arrest even after the parade was over.

That proves how serious Omar Abdullah was on the invite.

Hundreds of our supporters were still being arrested," Jaitley said.

He said many activists tried to hoist the flag at Lal Chowk today but were arrested.

Jaitley said it is "grand standing" that they were first arrested and than Omar hoisted the national flag.

Gadkari told reporters on the sidelines of the national flag hoisting function at the party headquarters in Delhi, "Some people say there is politics in hoisting the national flag at Lal Chowk. I don`t understand what politics can there be in hoisting the flag… This is not politics".

Gadkari alleged that the Centre and Omar Abdullah government were bowing to pressure from the separatists.

Police in Srinagar arrested seven BJP activists as they made a vain bid to hoist the national flag at Lal Chowk which had been turned into a fortress to foil the party`s plan.

A lone BJP supporter appeared at Regal Chowk, less than 100 yards away from Clock Tower at Lal Chowk, carrying a national flag at 8.30 AM, officials said.

Srikant, a resident of Gurgaon in Haryana, was apprehended by police personnel before he could make his way to the venue for hoisting the flag.He was taken to Kothibagh police station.

Six other BJP activists were arrested near a prominent hotel here for violating prohibitory orders at around 11.00 AM, the officials said.

Speaking to reporters in Kathua, 70 kms from Jammu, BJP`s youth wing national president Anurag Thakur said Jan Omar`s offer to attend Republic Day function either in Jammu or in Srinagar was a mere lip service.

"It is a lip service by him (Omar). We do not give credence to it and turn it down," he said.

The chief minister had invited BJP leaders to be a state guest at the R-Day functions either in Jammu or Srinagar.

Meanwhile, former party president Rajnath Singh ended his hunger strike over the issue in Delhi this morning after Gadkari requested him to do so.