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Opposition taking mileage on Lokpal issue: Pranab

July 01, 2011 18:22 IST
Union Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party, Communist Party of India-Marxist and Janata Dal-United of trying to gain political mileage out of the Lokpal Bill issue by assessing the civil society's outburst as an attack on the Congress.

"When Anna Hazare was on fast, the CPI-M politburo and the BJP supported him. A JD-U leader even went on dharna. They thought it was an attack on the Congress and they could take political mileage out of it. But it is an attack on the parliamentary system and the democratic process," the finance minister told a West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee rally in Kolkata.

"Their aim is to use undemocratic means as they cannot win the elections," the senior Congress leader claimed.

 Taking a dig at the BJP for supporting yoga guru Ramdev's fast, he said, "In the recent Assembly elections in five states, the BJP got only five seats in Assam. They got no seat in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and in West Bengal, they came second only in one of the 294 seats. So, the party thought it must hog the limelight by bringing in the babas and bibis."

The CPI-M was "somewhat confused" after losing the Assembly elections in Kerala and West Bengal, Mukherjee said sarcastically.

"Since the Communists first organised themselves in India in 1920, they are yet to come of age. That is why, they still take baby steps by sometimes holding the little finger of Sonia Gandhi and sometimes holding the thumb of the BJP," the union minister said.

Recalling that a Communist minister of Kerala had said in 1957 "we will wreck the Constitution from within", he said, "They could not do it. So now, they have joined Hazare."

"After Independence, the Communists raised the slogan of 'Yeh Azadi Jhoota Hai' and when the Constitution was adopted, they rejected it as 'bourgeoisie'," Mukherjee said.

Stating that demands had been raised several times to remove the Left Front government in West Bengal under Article 356, Mukherjee said, "When we were in power at the Centre, we had said this was not possible. When were in the Opposition, we had said we will oppose any such move, because this is not democratic. So today, people of the state have responded in a big way by rejecting the Front in the Assembly polls."

Mukherjee said that under the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Parliament, public opinion could be elicited on any Bill before it was passed in the House.

"All bills are put on the website. If people want to give their opinion, they can do so. There is no need for fasts or threats for this," he said.

Stating that recovery of black money was a "big job", the finance minister said Rs 68,000 of unaccounted money was recovered between August 2009 and March 2011.

India has signed agreements with 34 countries for recovering black money from those nations, he said. "From what information I am getting, black money is being recovered from those countries. One may ask, why was it\ not recovered before? The answer is, because there was no agreement."

Black money was not a problem only for India, but also for many big countries like the US and France, he said.

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