Coalgate: BJP demands Prez intervention, Cong slams oppn party

Amid an escalating political row over coal block allocation, BJP today brought the battle to President Pranab Mukherje demanding his intervention and also asked him to advice the UPA Government that it is not right for it to attack the CAG.
The Congress lashed out at the principal opposition party BJP for its stand on the coalgate row with its leader Digvijay Singh alleging there was a clear similarity between the anti-Bofors campaign against the Government in the late 80s and the present one on the coal block allocation.
As Union Ministers from the Congress fanned to various states in a bid to counter the BJP campaign, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said in Lucknow the CAG has not stated that the Government or the prime minister has minted money through wrong methods but has only said that had it been through auction it would have earned this much profit.
UPA’s outside supporter Samajwadi party also hit out at the Government with its supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav saying, “Newspapers today reported that ministers on the first day of taking charge allocated coal blocks to their relatives.” The reputation of Congress has been tainted throughout the country due to scams, he said in Kolkata.
In New Delhi, BJP Parliamentary Party chief L K Advani, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley and PAC chairperson Murli Manohar Joshi met Mukherjee and submitted a memorandum expressing “deep anguish and profound concern” over Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress questioning the CAG report on coal scam.
“MPs and high functionaries belonging to the Congress party and the Prime Minister himself have gone public in criticising the CAG’s report. Motives, including that of having political ambitions, have been openly attributed to the CAG…. What is most shocking are the statements of the Prime Minister in Parliament and public on August 27,” the party said in the memorandum.
“We told the President that we have come to you as our concern is that when constitutional institutions are weakened or not given due respect your intervention is required… Our opinion is that your intervention becomes important. You should advice the Government that it is not right for it to do this,” Advani told reporters.
Advani cited examples in the past concerning attacks on the CAG and the role played by President Rajendra Prasad, Vice President S Radhakrishnan, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and by the Lok Sabha Speaker in 1960 to buttress BJP’s stand to seek Mukherjee’s intervention.
Attacking the UPA, BJP alleged in the memorandum that CAG’s authority in conducting performance audit has been challenged several times.
“In Parliament, the Prime Minister had said that the observations of CAG are clearly disputable and further that CAG’s findings are flawed on multiple counts,” it said.
Advani maintained that the BJP delegation met the President as “it is his duty as defender of the Constitution” to look into the matter.
“When the Prime Minister himself uses such language it gives a license to his followers to do so too,” he said.
Mukherjee heard the views of the BJP leaders patiently and promised to look into the matter, he said. Elaborating on his remarks, Digvijay Singh said the CAG report on Bofors could not be proved even by the non-Congress Governments at the Centre and now since 2009-2012 there is a similar campaign on 2G and coal allocation.
Recalling as to how the then CAG, T N Chaturvedi went on to become a Rajya Sabha MP, Singh alleged that perhaps the present incumbent is also trying to follow in his footsteps.
Targeting the BJP, Azad that unlike earlier occasions when the opposition demanded a debate, this time the Government and the prime minister were ready for it, but not the opposition, specially the BJP, as they knew that it would expose them and they would not be able to face the people.
In Itanagar, Union Minister of State in the PMO V Narayansami critisised the BJP for the washout of the Monsoon session of Parliament saying it was resorting to mud-slinging for which the Congress was placing the facts before the people to judge.
Union HRD minister Kapil Sibal alleged that it was BJP which suffered from ‘paralysis’ by not allowing the Parliament to function.
“The criticism against the UPA is that we do not take any decisions and there has been a policy paralysis. We have taken decisions, but the paralysis lies somewhere else,” Sibal told an interaction organised by Indian Chamber of Commerce here in Kolkata. (PTI)


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