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WikiLeaks effect: The PM should quit, says Advani

Last updated on: March 17, 2011 18:42 IST

Why is the NDA so angry over WikiLeaks?

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Onkar Singh

Armed with the WikiLeaks expose about the 2008 trust vote, the Opposition on Thursday closed ranks in demanding the immediate resignation of the government, contending that it has lost the moral right to continue as the country's democracy has been "maligned".

The National Democratic Alliance and Left, along with other opposition parties such as Samajwadi Party, Telugu Desam Party and Janata Dal-Secular, which disrupted Parliament over the issue, launched a frontal attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"We would like the prime minister to come to the House and announce that he has decided to resign in the light of the new revelations," NDA's working chairman L K Advani said at a press conference that he addressed along with leaders of allies.

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With additional reportage from PTI


Image: BJP leader L K Advani

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'The PM has no moral authority to lead the government'

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The arrogant Congress displayed the rogue war chests to the American diplomat. He certainly could not have concocted these facts in relation to a friendly party in India. The likes of Sant Chatwal were inducted in order to induce the Akali Dal. He did not succeed, yet he got adequately compensated by this government," Advani said. 

"This contemporaneous evidence stares in the face of the political immorality of this government. The first term of the United Progressive Alliance government survived on the political strength of sin. The prime minister has no moral authority or legitimacy to lead the government of the day. He must quit forthwith."

The senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader ruled out moving a no-confidence motion against the government although he felt "the people are no longer with this government." Asked whether the NDA would be satisfied if the prime minister is changed, Advani replied in the negative.

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Image: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh

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'Biggest scandal in independent India'

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Describing the alleged 'buying' of MPs during the 2008 confidence vote as the 'biggest scandal' in independent India, he said the WikiLeaks cables had confirmed "our suspicions" about the "cash-for-vote" scam.

Noting that India had earned respect across the world mainly because of its "'sound democracy," Advani said the country's "democracy has been maligned" by this incident.

"I have not come across such a corrupt government since 1947. Everbody, from the top to the bottom, was involved in corruption. In 2008, when the government was fighting for survival, the money was used to buy the members of Parliament. Some of our members of Parliament acted as whistle-blowers.

"They exposed that the money was being paid to MPs to either abstain or vote for the ruling party. This has been confirmed by a Chennai-based paper that used information from WikiLeaks," he said.

He gave enough signals that the BJP-led alliance would not allow normal functioning of Parliament till its demand is met as he said that allies will meet every day to decide the course of action.

 "We will be failing in our duty if we do not affirm that this government has lost the moral authority to continue even for a single moment," he said in the presence of NDA convenor and Janata Dal-United chief Sharad Yadav, Shiv Sena's Anant Geete and Akali Dal's Rattan Singh Ajnala.

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Image: Independence Day celebrations in New Delhi
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters
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'The prime minister must come and explain'

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Addressing a separate press conference along with leaders of the Communist Party of India, SP, TDP, Telangana Rashtra Samithi, and Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury dubbed the alleged acts of buying votes as "gross moral degeneration and crass political opportunism" which has undermined Indian democracy.

"It is a humongous indictment of the Congress and the UPA government," he said, adding, "The prime minister must come and explain. Thursday was his day in the Rajya Sabha and he was not present."

Demanding a probe into the matter by the Central Bureau of Investigation, he wanted to know why the investigation into the cash-for-votes scam did not continue. "Was it because it would have embarrassed the government and the principal opposition?" he said.

The CPI-M leader was addressing the press along with Gurudas Dasgupta and D Raja (CPI), former prime minister H D Devegowda (JD-S), Nama Nageshwara Rao (TDP) and Shailendra Kumar (SP).

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Image: Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury

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'Diplomatic immunity does not extend to protecting an Indian offender'

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Rejecting Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's contention in the Rajya Sabha that diplomatic immunity prevents this government from investigating cables, Advani said, "Diplomatic immunity does not extend to protecting an Indian offender, who has committed an act of bribery in India."

The principal opposition also rubbished Mukherjee's stand that the offence "vanished" with the dissolution of the 14th Lok Sabha. "This is incredible since the offence of bribery, committed in 2008, outside Parliament does not vanish because the 14th Lok Sabha has ceased to exist," Advani said.

The senior BJP leader maintained that in the earlier scandals one individual or a few individuals were beneficiaries but in the cash for votes scam "for the first time it has been seen that the full establishment right from the top in the government and the Congress was involved".

There were directions from the top Congress leadership to "locate and buy" as many MPs as possible, Advani claimed, adding that the whole operation was "schemed" in such a manner.

He also referred to the WikiLeaks revelations that money was not an issue but it must be ensured that those who are paid vote accordingly. The senior leader ruled out bringing a no-confidence motion against the government.

Explaining the reasons for doing so, Advani said, "I or my NDA may want immediate elections. But there are MPs who would want to complete their full term." The current 15th Lok Sabha will complete two years in May this year.

Image: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee

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