As the government and the Congress firmly backed Salman Khurshid, activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal ended his four-day stir against the law minister in the Capital on Monday, but announced he would be taking the fight to Khurshid’s home turf — his constituency, Farrukhabad, in Uttar Pradesh.
The first protest rally against alleged embezzlement of a Rs 71-lakh central grant by Khurshid’s family trust will be held there on November 1.
The decision to shift base came as India Against Corruption’s request to meet the PM was turned down yet again and senior ministers ruled out Khurshid’s resignation. “There is no question of isolation or not backing (Khurshid),” information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni said.
Controversially, steel minister Beni Prasad Verma said Rs 71 lakh was a "very small amount" for a central minister and added, "If it was R710 crore, I would have taken it more seriously." The Congress distanced itself from his comment, calling it his personal view.
Party spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit said Khurshid had effectively countered the allegations on Sunday and "now, the UP government has instituted an inquiry… The courts are there to decide the issue".
Kejriwal, however, mounted a fresh attack on the Centre and the Samajwadi Party government in UP.
"There is enough evidence but the question is who will conduct an investigation. Akhilesh Yadav? A disproportionate assets case is pending against his father Mulayam Singh in Supreme Court. Who will appoint the government lawyer against Mulayam? The law minister," he said, adding, "Now Khurshid will save Mulayam Singh and Mulayam's son will save Khurshid."
"The state government completed its probe on June 12 itself that proved fake signatures of officials were taken by (Khurshid's) Zakir Hussain trust. Why is another probe needed?" he asked.
In Lucknow, CM Akhilesh Yadav responded: "It is not right to say the inquiry will not be fair till it is completed."