Gadkari to Sonia: 'Sermons won't make an impact'
Dubbing the 2-G spectrum issue as the mother of all scams, Bharatiya Janata Party President Nitin Gadkari has warned that the government's "stubborn and confrontationist" approach to the "legitimate" demand for a JPC probe will cost it dearly.
Setting the ball rolling for the two-day BJP national executive right on the banks of Brahmaputra River in Guwahati, Gadkari launched a scathing attack on the 'corrupt and inefficient' Congress-led 'UPA -II' government and called upon the party to remain firmly united to make the lotus bloom in New Delhi in 2014.
"If the Prime Minister is so very confident that he is not guilty, why should he be so stubborn in opposing the legitimate demand of JPC? This stubbornness is reminiscent of the pre-emergency days. BJP condemns this approach," Gadkari said in his presidential address at the BJP National Executive meet, the first since the 2-G scam surfaced.
Alleging that the huge loss to the exchequer due to this "mother of all scams" is almost equal to the budget outlay of some states, he warned the government that such a "stubborn and confrontationist" approach will cost the UPA "extremely dear".
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Additional Inputs: PTI
Image: File photo of BJP president Nitin Gadkari
'UPA-II is a kingdom of corruption'
"It is the stubbornness that is to blame for the logjam in Parliament. Not opposition, but the government is squarely responsible for this logjam," Gadkari said, adding that the entire opposition was united on the issue and the "sooner the government accepts our demand the better for all".
Taking a dig at Congress President Sonia Gandhi, he said, "Sermons, declaration of multi-point programmes and empty appeals to political functionaries who are your own appointees will make no impact."
His reference was obviously to the five-point plan of action against corruption announced by Gandhi at the recent Congress plenary in Delhi.
Seeking to make corruption as the biggest issue, he described the UPA-II government as a "kingdom of corruption".
Gadkari told the UPA leadership that what was required was a series of credible measures starting with a firm commitment to punishing the guilty.
"The rule of law is unambiguous. With prima facie evidence in hand, the law enforcing agencies must file an FIR. They have to arrest and interrogate the suspect, collect evidence and file charge sheet within a stipulated time frame. Nobody knows why this has not happened," Gadkari wondered.
Image: File photo of a BJP protest rally
'While looters empty coffers, PM is standing guard'
The BJP president charged that the 20-month old rule of UPA-II has allowed every arena of governance to be exploited by scamsters.
Taking a dig at the Prime Minister, he said, "While looters were emptying the government coffers, Manmohan Singh was standing guard with his eyes closed and perhaps, hands tied. These scams are some kind of a planned loot of national coffers."
Incidentally, Gadkari did not say anything on allegations of corruption levelled against the BJP government in Karnataka, whose Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa was present on the occasion.
Gadkari's comments clearly indicate that the BJP might intensify its demand for a JPC probe after Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal sought to dismiss as "utterly erroneous" the CAG report, which spoke of a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the government due to allocation of the radiowaves.
'Sibal's comments a frontal attack on CAG'
BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad reacted sharply to the Telecom Minister's statements, saying, "Sibal's unwarranted comments have sought to over-reach parliamentary process when the PAC is looking into it."
He told media persons, "It is a frontal attack on CAG, designed to save (former Telecom Minister) A Raja."
Prasad replied in the negative to questions on whether Gadkari referred in his address to actions of Yeddyurappa, which the BJP chief had only recently dubbed as "immoral but not illegal".
The Karnataka chief minister, who is attending the conclave, has been accused by the opposition of making out of turn land allotments to his sons.
Interestingly, there was no reference to the 'Rashtriya Ekta Yatra' from Kolkata to Srinagar by the party's youth wing, which plans to hoist the national flag at Lal Chowk on Republic Day. It has created controversy with even NDA Convenor Sharad Yadav speaking against the idea.
Ayodhya will be an issue in Assam polls
With the national executive meeting for the first time after the Allahabad high court verdict on Ayodhya title suits, Gadkari said, "We are all happy over the historic ruling on Ram Janm Bhoomi.
"We have already welcomed the judgment and do hope that all sections of the society will now help make a grand Ram Mandir at Ayodhya possible."
Replying to questions, Prasad denied suggestions that Ayodhya will be an issue in the coming assembly elections in Assam, which has a sizable minority population.
"We do not relate the Ram temple issue with elections," he said, when asked whether the BJP planned to give a "walkover" to the Congress in Assam by raising the temple issue.