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Rising crime graph worries BJP

By Sujay Mehdudia

NEW DELHI OCT. 16. The rising crime graph in the Capital, with increased targeting of women, has not only created ripples in the tourism and hospitality industry but could also have a possible political fall-out in view of the Delhi Assembly elections due in December. The recent incidents have left the Bharatiya Janata Party worried and fears are being expressed that if the Delhi police do not get their act together, the saffron party might have to pay a heavy price as law and order is under the Central Government and directly falls under the jurisdiction of the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani.

Old-timers point out that when the brother-sister duo of Sanjay Chopra and Geeta Chopra were kidnapped and murdered by the dreaded criminals Billa and Ranga in the 1980s, the Janata Party, which was in power at that time, had to pay a heavy price as they were voted out of power by the strong undercurrent against their handling of the situation. The BJP, which has been on the offensive against the Sheila Dikshit Government in Delhi, could find itself cornered on the issue of rising crime graph. The Delhi Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, termed the incident of rape of a Swiss diplomat and rise in such incidents against women as "most painful and unfortunate''. The Chief Minister, although not direct in her criticism of the police or any party, said the police need to pull up their socks and this could be achieved by making themselves not only accessible to the people but also being friendly. But fact of the matter is that the increasing number of such heinous incidents and the increase in criminal activities across the Capital has the citizens wondering whether they are safe or not. At the local BJP office today there were murmurs about the repercussions that could possibly result from such incidents. A number of party leaders, not wanting to be quoted, said that such a "callous attitude'' of the police could put them on the defensive and spell disaster at the hustings. The party is at loss to defend the inaction of the police in preventing such incidents and giving a sense of security to the citizens of Delhi who are presently gripped by fear psychosis.

On the other hand, the hospitality industry is worried as such incidents do not send a good message to foreign tourists at a time when things were picking up and tourists had started arriving in large numbers from abroad. What has added to the woes of the travel and tourism industry is the outbreak of the deadly dengue fever in the Capital, which again has the potential to derail the feel good factor which the industry is witnessing after the 9/11 setback. "Although, there have not been cancellations, but if things continue in such a manner, nothing can be ruled out. The rising crime graph and the dengue disease could have a negative impact on the industry,'' remarked a senior executive of a leading hotel in the Capital.

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