The Bharatiya Janata Party charged the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government on Friday of shielding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his alleged role in the coal allocation scam by forcing former Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar to quit his post.
"Everybody knows why Ashwani Kumar had resigned and made amendments in the CBI report. It was just to protect the prime minister, since he was looking after the coal portfolio at that time," former union minister and BJP national spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain told reporters.
The BJP has demanded the resignation of the prime minister on the issue and as part of it, will launch a 'jail bharo' campaign from May 27 to June 2 across the country to expose him.
At the time of the scam, the coal department was headed by the PM and therefore, it was his moral responsibility to resign from his post.
Shahnawaz alleged that the ruling United Progressive Alliance always blamed the BJP for stalling the Parliament, but it was not true, since the BJP was only pressing for the resignation of then Union railway minister Pavan Kumar Bansal and Union law minister Kumar for their deeds.
Had they resigned during the session, the house could have functioned smoothly, but the Congress never wanted to complete the Parliament session, he alleged.
On the issue of demand of constituting a Joint Parliamentary Committee for probing the coal block allocation scam, the Congress first wasted an entire session and later formed it during the next session.
Reacting to Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh's remark about giving autonomy to the Central Bureau of Investigaton, he said that these days nobody, not even the Congress party takes him seriously and therefore he started airing his views through social networking sites.
When asked about BJP vice-president Uma Bharti's remark that one cannot become the PM merely on the basis of "crowd pulling abilities", he said that she wanted to clarify that even movie stars are very effective crowd pullers, but it didn't mean that they qualify for the post.
The BJP spokesman said that the issue of projecting someone as the prime ministerial candidate will be taken by the BJP's parliamentary board at an appropriate time.
Answering a question about Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Shahnawaz said that the Janata Dal-United is one of the BJP's oldest partners and the alliance would continue. Referring to Karnataka, he said that the BJP lost because it did not compromise on the issue of corruption and also failed to convince people about its achievements.
However, he said that the situation in Madhya Pradesh is different and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has not spared anyone involved in corruption. The Chouhan government is doing well in MP and it would come back to power, Shahnawaz said.
When asked to comment on the Indian Premier League controversy, he said that people across the country watch these games with lot of faith and therefore the Board Of Control For Cricket In India should take all possible steps to keep the game healthy.