'UPA should correct itself'
Expressing deep displeasure over India's response to the WikiLeaks cables, veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani on Thursday said, "Even now, they (the United Progressive Alliance) should correct themselves".
Advani said every word of the WikiLeaks founder's statement that appeared in Wednesday's newspapers is worth reading and referred to the latter's remarks that the Indian government's response to the cables is one of the worst in the world.
Image: BJP leader L K Advani
'We did see that people were being bought'
He said when the government lost its majority in 2008, "everyone in the country, every chief minister, every minister, important office-bearer" was told to find out if there are MPs who are purchasable, especially those who lost their seats due to delimitation of constituencies.
"We did see that people were being bought," Advani said at a function after inaugurating the party's new office building in Bangalore.
Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
'The bribe giver is not a criminal?'
He also said the BJP gave a go-ahead to three of its Members of Parliament, after attempts were made to poach them, and they later "dumped" Rs one crore in the Lok Sabha when the confidence motion was being tabled.
"What kind of a country is this, where the bribe giver is not a criminal, where the person exposing the bribe is the criminal," the former deputy prime minister asked.
Image: Video grab shows Opposition MPs waving currency notes in the Lok Sabha during the 2008 trust vote
'A shameful scandal'
He said WikiLeaks cables had also talked about money being flaunted before United States officials to reassure them that nuclear deal would go through and the confidence vote would be won.
"In Independent India, has there been such a shameful scandal as has happened in that case (bribing MPs to vote)," he asked.
Noting that Assange had stated that India's response to WikiLeaks cables is "very, very bad" and "not acceptable", he commented, "Even now, they (UPA government) should correct themselves".
He did not elaborate on this comment.
Image: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
'Whatever Hazare wants, accept it'
Advani also said the United Progressive Alliance had to accept the demand for a joint committee to draft the Lokpal Bill after activist Anna Hazare went on an indefinite fast.
The country's reaction to the plethora of scams was so tremendous that if anything had happened to Hazare, the government would not have survived, he said.
"Therefore they (UPA) readily succumbed. Whatever he (Hazare) wants, accept it; does not matter (that was the approach of the UPA)", he said.
"Now, of course, he (Hazare) has said that whatever the Parliament will decide, he (Hazare) will accept; that's a good thing," Advani said.
Image: Activist Anna Hazare