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Wikileaks: Govt cornered by Left, Right attack

News18

Updated: March 17, 2011, 5:57 PM IST
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Wikileaks: Govt cornered by Left, Right attack
The Opposition closed ranks in demanding the immediate resignation of the government.

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

NDA and Left along with other Opposition parties like Samajwadi Party, TDP and JD(S), which disrupted Parliament over the issue, launched a frontal attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the charge that MPs were bought to save the UPA-I government.

"We would like the Prime Minister to come to the House and announce that he has decided to resign in the light of new revelations," NDA's Working Chairman L K Advani said addressing a press conference along with leaders of allies.

The senior BJP 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.

Describing the allegedly "buying" of MPs during the 2008 confidence vote as the "biggest scandal" in Independent India, he said the Wikileaks 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.

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 presence of NDA convenor and JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav, Shiv Sena Anant Geete and Akali Dal's Rattan Singh Ajnala.

Addressing a separate press conference along with leaders of CPI, SP, TDP, TRS, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury dubbed the alleged acts of buying votes as "gross moral de-generation 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. Today was his day in the Rajya Sabha and he was not present."

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

The CPI(M) leader was addressing the press along with Gurudas Dasgupta and D Raja (CPI), former Prime Minister H D Devegowda (JDS), Nama Nageshwara Rao (TDP) and Shailendra Kumar (SP).

Rejecting Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's contention in Rajya Sabha that diplomatic immunity prevents this government from investigating cables, Advani said, "The 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 "for the first time it has been seen that the full establishment right from the top in the government and the Congress were 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 on-going 15th Lok Sabha will complete two years in May this year.

Advani insisted that the Wikileaks disclosure "adds to the campaign of NDA against corruption".

"These allegations of corruption shall continue to haunt this government till it continues... The NDA demands that this government has no moral right to continue, and it should quit," Advani said.

BJP charged that the US was playing a role as "mutual interest" was involved here. The US administration wanted to see that the Civil Nuclear deal was passed.

The senior leader insisted that since last year the government has been mired in "stinking scams to suicide....".

He was referring to former Telecom Minister A Raja's associate Sadiq Batcha, named in the 2-G spectrum allocation scam, who was found hanging yesterday.

The BJP maintains that the Wikileaks expose "corroborates and vindicates" its charge that bribe was paid in July 2008 to win the support of "vulnerable" MPs to save the UPA government.

Advani said after delimitation of constituencies some MPs were not confident of winning their seats and they became targets of the UPA-I government.

Asked why the BJP did not raise questions about holding a vote of confidence once it was convinced that bribes were paid to buy MPs, he maintained that the party could not have questioned the Speaker.

"What could we do? Our own whistle-blower MPs were themselves being blamed. We cannot comment on the Speaker or even the findings of the committee that was appointed," Advani said.

First Published: March 17, 2011, 5:57 PM IST
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