Agra, Nov 21 (IANS) The BJP Thursday felicitated three of its MLAs accused in the Muzzafarnagar riots with turbans and garlands, but took care to do it ahead of prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's arrival at the venue.
The MLAs - Sangeet Som, Suresh Rana and Sudhir Baliyan - were honoured with by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kalraj Mishra and state party chief Lakshmikant Bajpayi during the party's 'Vijay Shankhnaad' rally at Agra's Kothi Meena Bazar area.
Rana and Som were accused by the state government of inciting violence in Muzaffarnagar, leading to riots that killed 63 people and displaced thousands.
The National Security Act (NSA) was slapped on them but they were let off by the state advisory council which did not find enough grounds for the charges to stick. The two MLAs are currently on bail. Baliyan is also an accused but was not jailed.
Modi perhaps did not want to be photographed with the MLAs to avoid attack from the Congress.
The BJP felicitated the three MLAs claiming they were falsely accused of inciting the riots.
Blame it on the Congress!
BJP national president Rajnath Singh's arrival was delayed at the rally and the saffron party promptly blamed it on the central government.
Bajpayi announced from the dais that Rajnath Singh's flight was not allowed to take off from Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport for more than an hour.
He blamed the Congress-led UPA government for the delay.
Crowd leaves as Modi's speech ends
By the time BJP chief Rajnath Singh reached the 'Vijay Shankhnaad' rally venue in Agra, Modi had ended his speech. The crowds had started dispersing and very few people were left to hear what Singh had to say.
Seeing the crowd fast thinning, the BJP president soon wrapped up his address soon.
Sea of Saffron
It was a sea of saffron with BJP flags being flashed by the crowd of around a lakh. Many party supporters were also holding hand-made banners with slogans like "Man of Developing India".