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No corporate lobbying: Cong on Ambani-PM meet

July 14, 2008 20:15 IST

On a day when industrialist Mukesh Ambani met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the backdrop of the wishlist of Samajwadi Party, Congress on Monday dismissed charges of corporate lobbying ahead of the trust vote in the Lok Sabha on July 22.

The ruling party also saw nothing wrong in reports that the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha chief Shibu Soren was demanding ministership.

Party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters that demands of any individual or industrial house are in public domain in a democracy. He said it is not that any such representations carries a veto or is agreed upon.

Noting that in any coalition government the process of give and take takes place, he said "Government of India does not act under anyone's veto or dictates."

 Singhvi's remarks came in response to a volley of questions pertaining to the demands made by SP leader Amar Singh, who is close to Mukesh's brother and corporate rival Anil Ambani for imposition of windfall tax.

Singhvi said: "The demand for windfall tax is not new. It was raised by the Left parties many months ago." He said in a democracy, demand raised does not carry veto.

Besides, Singhvi said, the dispute between the two brothers predates and pre exists for a long time. "To link it with the present situation is wrong," he said.

Noting  that in a democracy no one can stop anyone from making any demand, he said one should not go by any speculation but what is the collective decision of the government on such issues.

Replying to another question on the demands raised by Jharkhand Mukti Morcha for a cabinet berth in return for the party's support during the trust vote, Singhvi said it was the prerogative of the prime minister to decide on who gets what portfolio.

"He (Shibu Soren) had been the coal minister earlier," the Congress leader said.

Singhvi also dismissed the charges of horse trading being made against Congress by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Left. "They are simply making allegations. It does not prove anything. Do they have any facts or proof on horsetrading?" said Singhvi.

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