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BJP creates website on Pratibha Patil

Neena Vyas

NEW DELHI: A website, www.knowpratibhapatil.com, has been created by the Bharatiya Janata Party under the banner of “Project India.” It contains the party’s allegations, printed in various sections of the media. It was inaugurated on Tuesday at the residence of Venkaiah Naidu by party general secretary Arun Jaitley.

Mr. Jaitley said the idea was to make the electoral college and people know about the Presidential candidates. However, when asked whether a similar website on the BJP-backed Bhairon Singh Shekhawat would be created, he said the party had no such intention. “We are clear. We are giving details about Ms. Patil because we feel strongly about it. We do not have any reservations about Mr. Shekhawat.”

He did not respond when asked what would happen to the right of information when people are “informed” only about one of the two Presidential candidates. He said the website would vanish after July 21 when the Presidential election result will be out.

The backdrop of the podium on which Mr. Jaitley was sitting was a large banner proclaiming the address of the new website and a warning that election of Ms. Patil would mean “India Diminished Indians Disgraced.” But even as Mr. Jaitley was speaking, the banner fell, revealing the Bharatiya Janata Party in words and its lotus symbol.

A booklet, titled “Presidential Election 2007,” was also released by Mr. Jaitley. He described it as a compilation of articles/editorials and news reports relating to the Presidential contest in newspapers.

The booklet, however, did not contain reports of the statements made by the Left, the Congress and its allies in the United Progressive Alliance.

It also did not have statements made by the BJP’s allies in the National Democratic Alliance who are not supporting Mr. Shekhawat. The website invites viewers to send their comments on Ms. Patil. Its designer Pradyut Vohra told The Hindu that he was a fulltime “researcher” working for the BJP. He had placed on the website material given by the party.

Mr. Jaitley insisted that the BJP’s only motive was “to allow a meaningful choice by the electorate by bringing to their notice the allegations made against Ms. Patil.”

He said a “think tank” was behind the website. Asked to name them, he mentioned journalist and columnist Swapan Dasgupta, Surya Prakash and Ashok Malik.

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