Police Friday detained a suspect after discovering a bomb under a small bridge near here where BJP leader L.K. Advani was to pass. An unfazed Advani pressed on, saying his party does not support "politically motivated" clemency petitions. Advani made no mention, in his speeches or blog, of the bomb discovery, concentrating instead on what he called the non-performance of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and the mounting corruption in the country.
The Bharatiya Janata Party veteran said judicial verdicts on death sentences should not be meddled with. He spoke to reporters after arriving here from Chennai, around 450 km away, before commencing the second leg of his Jan Chetna Yatra, "Whether it is Rajiv Gandhi killers or the (Indian) parliament attackers, decisions taken by courts should not be meddled with on political grounds," Advani said.
Earlier, a "pipe bomb" packed with eight kg of explosives was discovered under a bridge in Alampatti near here. Acting on a tip from local residents, police also seized a 25 metre wire connected to it. Authorities immediately increased security for Advani's yatra. A police officer said a man, identified only as Nehru, was detained as a suspect in the case. Advani avoided the bridge but there was no major change in his programme.
"After the detection of the bomb, Advani was taken through an unscheduled route," said H. Raja, a BJP leader in Tamil Nadu. Raja also urged the state government to investigate the incident. Advani's yatra, aimed at fighting black money and corruption, started Oct 11 and will end Nov 20.
Accusing the central government of selectively targeting people involved in corruption scandals, Advani said the BJP was never soft on corruption. He alleged that while allies of the Congress were being probed over corruption charges, the ruling party was overlooking similar acts by its own leaders. He refused to comment on the so-called links between his party and Team Anna.
The yatra, he insisted, was not meant to promote himself or his party with an eye to elections. Asked about the possible revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in Jammu and Kashmir, Advani said: "The approach to terrorism should be consistent and not hesitant and wavering." He made no comment on a possible tie up between the BJP and AIADMK in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections but underlined that coalitions had become inevitable in India.
"For quite sometime to come, it is going to be a coalition government at the national level," he said. In response to protests against the Kudankulam nuclear project in Tamil Nadu, Advani sought a review of atomic power installations near the sea coast and insisted that people's safety should be the prime concern. He also urged New Delhi to take up with Colombo attacks on fishermen from Tamil Nadu by the Sri Lankan Navy.