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Sushma clarifies stand on coal-gate, says PM must quit

Last updated on: September 2, 2012 17:49 IST

Sushma clarifies stand on coal-gate, says PM must quit

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Dismissing reports about the Bharatiya Janata Party relenting on their demand for prime minister's resignation, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj on Sunday asserted that the party would continue to seek Manmohan Singh's ouster in Parliament.

"We have not back-tracked on the prime minister's resignation. We stick to our demand that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should resign accepting moral responsibility for the coal block allocation scam," Swaraj told the media in Mumbai.She said the BJP seeks "the prime minister directly responsible for coal block allocations".

"An independent probe should be conducted in the coal block allocations," she said, adding that all the licenses issued in coal block allocation should be cancelled at once.

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Image: BJP leader Sushma Swaraj addresses the media in Mumbai on the coal issue
Photographs: Sahil Salvi

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'No indication from Sonia on BJP's demands'

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The BJP leader further said that she has still not received any indication from Congress chairperson Sonia Gandhi on their demands. "We have asked Sonia Gandhi to cancel the licenses of coal block allocation and to conduct an independent inquiry by a Supreme Court judge," Swaraj said.Swaraj expressed dismay on the reports that the BJP has backed down from demand on the PM's resignation.

"The conclusions drawn in the section of media are totally wrong. The BJP is adamant on the prime minister's resignation. There is no question of us backtracking on it," she added.

"We will take to the streets after Parliament session ends on September 7," she said.Earlier, BJP national spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad also said in Bhopal that the party would continue to demand the PM's resignation over the issue.

"How can Manmohan Singh remain the PM when the CBI is investigating and finding irregularities even in the preliminary probe," Prasad questioned, while addressing media persons in Bhopal.


Image: PM and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi


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'Coal block allocation is the biggest scam till now'

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Taking swipes at the Congress-led UPA government, Swaraj said, "Coal block allocation is the biggest scam till now". "All the scams during the tenure of the UPA government are competing with each other," she quipped.

Criticising the Centre, she said, "The central government has still not implemented the policy on coal block allocations which was formulated in 2004 and was aimed at allocating blocks through competitive bidding."Attacking the PM, she said the policy which was formulated on coal block allocation was first opposed by the Prime Minister's Office.

"Two months after the policy was formulated on competitive bidding, it was opposed by the PMO. On September 11, 2004 the PMO wrote that the policy would prove to be destructive, as the electricity tariffs will increase," Swaraj alleged.


Image: An activist from Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, wearing a cut-out of India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, lies on a heap of charcoal during a protest in New Delhi August. The protesters were demanding the resignation of Singh over his government's role in an affair dubbed "coal-gate"
Photographs: Reuters
Tags: PMO , UPA , Swaraj

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'Do not want CBI inquiry in coal scam'

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Fearing criticism on the policy, the government "deliberately" delayed it, she said."The delay (to implement policy) was deliberate. The government found a way out to allocate coal blocks with the help of old policies. Since 1993-2005 a total of 70 coal blocks were allocated, by whichever government in power. But Manmohan Singh government allocated 142 coal blocks from2006-2010," Swaraj further alleged.

"Except at one block, nowhere mining is being carried out, she rued."Where is the power generation taking place?...PM should speak on this...How much GDP was increased?...How much revenue was received?...nil," she mentioned.

"The revenue certainly did come, but it went into the Congress party's treasure," Swaraj alleged.Meanwhile, rejecting a CBI probe in coal block allocations, she said, "We do not want CBI inquiry. It cannot conduct an independent probe against the Congress."



Image: Labourers carry coal to load onto a truck at a coal yard on the outskirts of the northern Indian city of Allahabad
Photographs: Jitendra Prakash/Reuters
Tags: CBI , Swaraj , Congress , GDP

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