'Advani shouldn't have said sorry to Sonia'
Veteran politician Subramanian Swamy on Saturday expressed surprise over Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani's decision to apologise to Congress president Sonia Gandhi over the black money issue. The BJP patriarch had apologised to Gandhi for a party-appointed task force report, which had alleged that she and her late husband Rajiv had accounts in Swiss banks.
"L K Advani shouldn't have said sorry to Sonia Gandhi. I don't know why he did so," said the Janata Party chief at a crowded press conference in Rajkot, and went on to make allegations about the Nehru-Gandhi family's wealth.
Reportage: Haresh Pandya
Image: Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy and BJP leader L K Advani
'Sonia knows I am right'
"I challenge Sonia to file a defamation case against me. I know she wouldn't because she knows I'm right," added the Janata Dal president.
Talking about Gandhi's son and Congress general secretary Rahul, the outspoken leader said, "He makes a mockery of himself by all those tamashas (dramas) of his in the name of caring for the poor and serving the nation."
The fiery leader also took on Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh for the latter's frequent assaults on right-wing terror and said, "I am convinced that the solution to all the prevalent ills in the country (which have arisen) thanks to the United Progressive Alliance government lies, in the long run, in Hindutva."
Image: Congress president Sonia Gandhi
Photographs: Sherwin Crasto/Reuters
'Neither Rahul nor Varun deserve to be ministers'
He claimed that BJP leader Varun Gandhi was a better leader than Rahul. "Varun is laayak (competent), Rahul is not. Varun is dynamic, Rahul is not. Varun is mature."
Though he informed the journalists that he was going to attend Varun's impending wedding, Swamy added, "I don't think any one of them deserves to be a minister."
He clarified, "I am not against youth power in politics. But you have to be mature and highly experienced before you hold a serious and responsible position."
Swamy also said that as long as the UPA government was in power, there would be no solution to the increasing Maoist menace.
Image: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and BJP leader Varun Gandhi
'Have one stand against Maoists'
"There should be only one stand against the Maoists. They should be told to surrender unconditionally or be prepared to get killed by the Army for the atrocities they have subjected thousands of innocent people to, including military and police personnel," said Swamy.
Asked whether he considered Manmohan Singh a weak prime minister, Swamy said, "It's not a question of Manmohan Singh being weak or strong. If Manmohan Singh steps down, it won't serve any purpose simply because others are worse. The UPA government has to be toppled. And it will be thrown out in the wake of a series of scams. Be prepared for mid-term polls."
Image: Maoist cadres at a training camp
Photographs: Rediff Archive
'JPC will hardly serve any purpose'
Swamy also dismissed reports about UPA agreeing to a joint parliamentary committee probe for the 2G scam, as demanded by the Opposition parties.
"What's the JPC, after all? It's a Congress majority committee. It will hardly serve any purpose. If you want to have some fun, have the JPC. Sonia and the UPA government must go. They have no right to stay in power after all these scandals," he thundered.
Expressing his displeasure over an increasing number of film stars joining politics, Swamy said they would be better off continuing in the film industry.
Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters