A day after claiming that berths in the Upper House of Parliament were available for Rs. 100 crore and certain people were paying to “buy” seats, Congress parliamentarian from Haryana Birender Singh retracted the statement. This time he claimed he had been misquoted.
But the damage had already been done. Despite party vice president Rahul Gandhi’s injunction, the out-of-turn statements from Congress leaders have not stopped.
And with the UPA government already under fire on the corruption issue, the opposition BJP and the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) piled on the pressure.
While BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said it was a “tacit admission that in Congress they were selling tickets”, INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala said, “The Congress high command should explain how many MPs have paid for their seats”.
Singh, who had claimed on Sunday that he could name 20 people who had paid to get seats in Rajya Sabha, later said he had merely spoken about the presence of crorepati MPs in Parliament. His point, he said, was that if only rich people were to become MPs, the voice of the poor would remain suppressed.
Singh, a party general secretary till recently, had been tipped to become a Union minister in the last cabinet reshuffle. But his name was taken off at the last minute.
(With agency inputs)