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Resignation not enough, prosecute Judeo: Congress

Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi | November 18, 2003 04:22 IST

The Congress on Monday insisted that the Centre prosecute Union minister Dilip Singh Judeo who has resigned 'on moral grounds' after he was seen, in a video tape, accepting money from a person seeking mining rights.

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee may have removed the sting out of the opposition's attack by accepting Judeo's resignation, but the Congress is not willing to let the Bharatiya Janata Party off the hook so easily.

"We have noted Judeo's resignation, but it is far from enough. Any minister caught in the act of graft cannot get away with mere resignation. He should be prosecuted and the evidence (the video tape) must be protected," Congress spokesman S Jaipal Reddy told reporters in Delhi.

BJP spokesman Prakash Jawadekar, however, stoutly defended Judeo. "Judeo is not (Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit) Jogi, who, even after being chargesheeted by the CBI is unwilling to leave the (chief minister's) chair. That is the difference between the BJP and the Congress."

Jogi is facing a charge sheet in connection with a case of forgery.

Jawadekar reminded mediapersons about BJP chief M Venkaiah Naidu's statement that Judeo need not resign until the charges are proved.

Former BJP chief Bangaru Laxman, who also resigned in the face of graft charges after he was shown on video tape accepting money, has already pleaded that the party not ditch Judeo like it did him.

However, Vajpayee's decision to accept Judeo's resignation appears to have weakened this argument and any effort on the BJP's part to defend Judeo.

Speaking to rediff.com, Jawadekar indicated that the BJP's election campaign, especially in Chhattisgarh, would focus on demanding Jogi's resignation on moral grounds.

Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani and other senior BJP leaders will be in Chhattisgarh on Tuesday to campaign for the party.

The Congress has ruled out Jogi's resignation. "The cases of Judeo and Jogi cannot be compared," Reddy has said.

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