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Opposition slams PM for statement on WikiLeaks revelations

Wednesday March 23, 2011 08:05:36 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: The Left and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Wednesday attacked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his not-guilty statement following allegations that the Congress had bought MPs in the 2008 trust vote and accused him of concealing facts.

The government stood by the prime minister's statement, citing the 2009 election triumph as a defence of the allegation in the US diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks and published by a newspaper and said that the opposition was suffering from "selective amnesia".

The prime minister in his March 18 statement had refuted the charges made in the "speculative, unverified and unverifiable" US diplomatic communications.

Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Gurudas Dasgupta initiated the debate in the Lok Sabha on what has come to be known as the cash-for-votes scam.

"His (prime minister's) statement was firm, normally he is not. But linguistic fervour is something he has used to conceal facts."

He said the parliamentary committee that probed the scandal in 2008 had recommended that it be "appropriately investigated further" and the case was handed over to Delhi Police Crime Branch.

"In a serious case like this, the appropriate probe was left to the Crime Branch, not the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation), not the Enforcement Directorate and not the Income Tax department.

"I have a feeling, excuse me. Appropriate inquiry was deliberately not done. Why? Because some political businessmen had to be ensured that will remain in the background," Dasgupta alleged.

Dasgupta said the prime minister's justification of highlighting electoral victory after the scandal "cannot hide criminality if it has been committed".

"Over-emphasising the poll verdict by the PM has not brought honours to him. I suppose there is a tendency to propound a dangerous theory that might is right."

Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj backed the Left MP. Citing the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and the 2002 sectarian violence in Gujarat, she said Manmohan Singh was rewriting criminal jurisprudence by bringing in the 2009 electoral victory to defend his government.

The BJP leader asked if the prime minister was willing to apply the same yardstick to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in that state.

"In Gujarat, Modi has won the assembly elections twice but still the 2002 riot cases are being pursued against him. In Gujarat, in two consecutive elections, you made the 2002 riots an issue, but Narendra Modi won a huge majority."

Despite the victories in Gujarat, Sushma Swaraj said the BJP never demanded that the cases against BJP leaders and workers should be dropped.

"Election victory or defeat cannot wipe away any crime. The episode has shamed India. It has blemished our democratic tradition," she added.

"Since you have great liking for Urdu and Urdu poetry, Manmohan Singh ji, let me recite a couplet today. Tu idhar udhar ki na baat kar, yeh bata ki qaafila kyon loota; hamein rahzanon se gila nahin, teri rehbari ka sawaal hai." (Don't talk hearsay, tell us why the caravan was looted; we have no grouse against dacoits but it is a question of your leadership)

As the opposition joined hands, Parliamentary Affairs Minister P.K. Bansal said the prime minister's statement should have been enough to clear any doubt "but the opposition leaders believe that their utterances are divine truths, they suffer from selective amnesia".

Bansal asked the opposition MPs "not to fall victims to cyber terrorism" -- a phrase the US used to describe the whistleblower WikiLeaks for exposing secret and confidential diplomatic cables.

"The PM has given the statement on the basis of facts. He couldn't have asked for your choice of words. Or you want him to do so?

"You throw stones at us. We don't throw them back because we want to create a bridge between (the government and opposition) with those stones to bridge the differences," Bansal said.









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(Photo: Mukesh Kumar)



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