NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News  » News » BJP using dated ideology to kill democracy: Sibal

BJP using dated ideology to kill democracy: Sibal

Last updated on: August 30, 2012 00:44 IST

Retaliating against the Bharatiya Janata Party, after more than a week of Parliament being stalled and the government put on the mat, the Congress said, "Jis soch ne Mahatma Gandhi ki hatya ki thi, Wahi soch loktantra ki hatya kar rahi hai (democracy is being killed by the same ideology which killed mahatma Gandhi)."

The frontal and political attack against the BJP came from Union Minister Kapil Sibal who came to the All India Congress Committee platform and ripped apart BJP's double speak on the Coalgate, with the BJP using the Comptroller and Auditor General report to shut down Parliament and not allow any business to be transacted.

The Congress' aggression against the BJP has surfaced after party president Sonia Gandhi asked the party and the government to take the BJP head on, and expose its politics of blackmail and the manner in which democracy was being hijacked.

While the BJP is holding daily press conferences to push ahead with the Coalgate issue, knowing full well that many of the coal blocks allocated were given to BJP loyalists on the recommendation of BJP state governments.

Sibal has ruled out cancellation of the licenses for coal block allocation saying such a step would cause huge financial losses and would badly affect the country's power sector. He said the country already has a huge shortfall and this would further worsen the situation.

Coming down hard on the BJP, Sibal said there was no questioning of anyone benefitting from the coal block allocation as the coal was never sold. He accused the BJP of raking up the issue for no reason except for its desperation to come to power at the Centre before 2014 and pushing for a mid term poll.

According to Sibal, "Under the nationalisation policy, coal cannot be sold…coal from the blocks allotted was never sold. So who would have benefitted?

The Congress on the other hand has targetted the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government for allocating coal blocks between 1998 and 19th august 2003 without adopting any procedures whatsoever.

The guidelines under the NDA for allotment to the public/private sector for captive mining allowed a freehand to the screening committee. The question being asked by the Congress is: If the screening committee's procedures post 2005 are being questioned and presumptive loss calculated, then what about presumptive loss of allocations made between 1998 and 2004?

In 2004, the NDA was voted out and the congress came to power.

The UPA framed new guidelines, many of which were strict and the procedure for allocation was streamlined to ensure more transparency, said the Congress. It has given the guidelines framed by them as well as the procedures adopted by the NDA where hardly any rules have been put on paper.

The Congress has brought out the names of certain companies and it wants to know from leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley what were the 'transparent procedures' adopted by the NDA while making allocations to these companies.

The Congress has also listed instances of the ministers and their utterances on abusing the CAG during the NDA period, especially on the so-called 'Kargil coffin-gate scam' as well as former Union Minister Arun Shourie's allegations against the then CAG.

When the NDA was confronted with the demand for a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the Centaur Hotel scam after the CAG report on it was released in February 2004, Shourie the then minister for disinvestment is reported to have retorted; "It is ironic that we swallow or vomit allegations".

He had said, "The methodology of computing notional losses is idiotic -- sorry peculiar."

He added, "The CAG needs streamlining; if the same logic of notional losses was extended to earlier disinvestment deals, the government should compensate Reliance and the Tatas," and then said, "I will take up the issue with the cabinet secretary and the CAG".

In December 2001, when the CAG report on coffin purchases came out, Jaitley had said, "The CAG is an institution appointed to find faults," and that CAG's 'findings are based on hearsay'. He had also remarked, "Comptroller generals don't go to war, army generals do."

Former defence minister George Fernandes also had his views on the CAG. He said, "It is CAG which has acted unethically." Revisiting the NDA and the utterances of its leaders, it's almost like listening to the Congress leaders who have been saying almost the same things when their decisions are being questioned.

Sources in the BJP readily admit that with the UPA looking weak, the BJP is all out to take advantage and recapture the anti-Ccongress space which they thought had been hijacked by activists Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal.

BJP leaders openly admit that they have succeeded in recapturing that space by creating an atmosphere against the ruling party on its acts of corruption.

The BJP admits that the systematic campaign against the ruling party, particularly the fact that it put the government in the dock on 2G, and ensured the resignation of former telecom minister ARaja had made them think that Coalgate was as big an issue.

But Congress' and its leaders aggression and its refusal to give in to the BJP has also put the BJP in the dock and raised the question within its ranks on how far they should carry this battle.

There are differences within the party and its allies on how far to 'dirty its fingers' in coal, particularly when the BJP president Nitin Gadkari is holidaying in Canada with his family, leaving the business to senior leader L K Advani. He is seemingly unperturbed by the fact that a full coal block was allotted to his key confidante Anil Sancheti in Chattisgarh.

Slamming the BJP, the Congress says the former does not think about the nation but wants to come to power before 2014, driven by the ideology which killed Mahatma Gandhi. "It believes in the ideology of disruption and killing of democracy".

On both sides the words being used are strong, the charges being leveled are serious as both the national parties fight to create the right atmospherics for the next general elections even as all other parties, regional or others have been reduced to be bystanders watching the power play as both the Congress and the BJP work on dividing the political space between the two of them.

Renu Mittal in New Delhi