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PM has no right to continue in office: Advani

Last updated on: July 23, 2008 18:36 IST

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Lal Kishenchand Advani congratulated Bharatiya Janata Party's three MP's -- Ashok Argal and Faggan Singh Kulaste from Madhya Pradesh and Mahavir Baghora from Rajasthan -- who exposed Congress MP Ahmed Patel's attempt to buy them to stay away from the trust vote.

A similar offer was made to Kapir Gao of Arunachal Pradesh, who received a call from Ahmed Patel's office saying they were making a last offer of Rs 35 crores to him. "There are telephonic records available to prove the point in the court of law," Advani said.

Party president Rajnath Singh announced the expulsion of all the MP's who either voted against the party's whip or decided to abstain from voting.

"We had a meeting of senior leaders at the party of Advani's residence and we unanimously decided to expel eight BJP members from the party for violating the party whip," Rajnath said before Advani started his address to the media.

Having made use of the CNN IBN tape showing BJP MPs being offered money allegedly by Ahmed Patel, BJP leaders started blaming the channel for not airing the tape despite knowing the explosive nature of its contents.

Rajdeep Sardesai, channel head of CNN IBN, explained that they were waiting to hear from the constitutional authorities to hand over the tape.

"Soon after our three MPs exposed the scandal inside the House, the TV channel had announced, at around 4.30 pm on Tuesday, that it had handed over the tape to the speaker. We have now come to know that the tape had not been delivered to the speaker's office till 1 pm on Wednesday. This raises great apprehensions in everyone's mind about the possibility of doctoring of the tape. The BJP demands that the speaker immediately convene a meeting of the leaders of all parties, show the tape to them, and institute a time-bound inquiry. The outcome of this inquiry must be made known before Parliament convenes for the monsoon session in August," Advani said in a written statement.

Advani chose not to answer clearly when this correspondent asked him why the party did not take action against the MPs concerned when their names were being freely mentioned in media circles, particularly in the BJP.

"We did not know the names. The media has its own sources and media is full of intelligent people," M Venkaiah Naidu told journalists when his attention was drawn to the question.

Advani called the victory of UPA as murder of democracy. A close look at the final tally in the House showed that the government would have certainly lost the confidence motion in the absence of cross-voting and abstentions by MPs belonging to several non-UPA parties.

So shameless were activities and public pronouncements of the top functionaries of the two parties in the run-up to the trust vote that the entire country started suspecting that the government was up to some mischief.

"Indeed, in my speech in Parliament on July 21, I had specifically referred to the corrupt means being employed by a government which, in the name of promising nuclear power, was resorting to "horse power" to save itself. Honourable members from several other opposition parties also accused the government of indulging in the worst kind of horse-trading to convert its minority into majority," Advani said.

"The prime minister had asked in a tone of injured innocence: "Where is the proof?" After the incontrovertible proof that our three MPs produced in front of the Speaker, the prime minister has no moral right to continue in office. His is a tainted victory. After having devalued the office of the prime minister by allowing the misuse of several democratic institutions for highly questionable ends -- which includes misuse of the CBI and the law ministry in the Bofors case --, Dr Singh now stands exposed as one who blessed the desecration of the temple of democracy," Advani said.

The BJP has decided to launch a nationwide campaign to make the people aware of the illegitimacy of the UPA government and its unsuitability to continue in office after exposure of the cash-for-votes scandal.

The campaign, which will begin from Sunday, will also highlight the UPA government's saga of failures and betrayals --– above all, its failure to control skyrocketing prices of essential commodities, to ameliorate the plight of farmers, and to effectively fight the menace of terrorism.

Onkar Singh in New Delhi