In a statement which is likely to stoke fresh controversy, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief, Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday slammed Narendra Modi- led NDA government for conferring Bharat Ratna on former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee alleging he had a role in Babri Masjid demolition.
The MIM Chief said that on December 5, 1992 Vajpayee gave a speech with communal overtures indirectly calling for demolishing the existing structure in Ayodhya. Owaisi said that the speech is still available on YouTube. He said that such a person was conferred the highest award by the Modi government and hence no justice can be expected from the current regime.
Vajpayee was conferred Bharat Ratna on March 27 this year. President Pranab Mukherjee had personally gone to the ailing BJP leader's residence to confer India's highest civilian honour..
Vajpayee, who was Prime Minister from 1998 to 2004, has faded from public life due to age-related illness. He has been often described as the moderate face of BJP.
Lauded as a statesman, Vajpayee has been credited for taking bold initiatives during his stint as PM, notable among them being the historic bus journey to Lahore in 1999 when he signed the landmark Lahore Declaration with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with both sides pledging to push for peace and security.
Vajpayee's detractors called him the "mask" of RSS but they always had good words for him.
Owaisi also attacked the government for conferring Padma Vibhushan Award to senior BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani criticising him for his RathYatra movement.