Amid the speculations if the BJP would take part in the Parliament proceedings the BJP national spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad said here on Sunday the BJP would stick to its demands- resignation of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on coalgate issue and cancellation of 145 coal blocks.
Talking to newspersons Prasad said each new scam committed during the UPA II government presented mindboggling figures of loot.
He said first loot was committed during commonwealth games, second in 2-G spectrum, third in coal blocks allotment and fourth in privatisation of airport.
How the government was sensitive to corruption could be gauged from the fact there was no chargesheet against Suresh Kalmadi. Prasad said the airport privatisation scam sunk into oblivion in discussions on the scam on coal blocks allotment.
Defending the recommendations of the CMs of the BJP ruled states in regard with the coal blocks allotment, Prasad said the right of allotment of coal blocks lay with the Central government. As many as 70 coal blocks were allotted between 1993 and 2005, while 145 blocks were allotted between 2006 and 2009. Of these 145 blocks, 72 were given to private companies.
He said Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh couldn’t escape his responsibility for allotment of these 145 blocks, for he happened to be the coal minister and put his signature on allotment orders.
Of the blocks, some were given to the relatives of union ministers Subodhkant Sahay and Sriprakash Jaiswal. He accused the Congress government of adopting two standards- one for the coalition partners and the other for its own. For an instance, he said, the then union ministers A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran had to step down from their chairs but when it came to corruption by the Congress ministers including the PM they chose to look the other way.
He said the BJP has its constitutional duty to ask the UPA government questions on corruption and misappropriation of public money.
An irritated Prasad
Ravishankar Prasad got irritated repeatedly on journalists’ questions. As his irritation grew in degree, the press conference had to be curtailed short to avoid any embarrassment to him.
The questions, which irritated Prasad were related to the BJP ruled CMs including Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s requests to the Centre not to auction the coal blocks, favour to a BJP MP Ajay Sancheti too in allotment of coal blocks and BJP leaders’ alleged involvement in riots in Gujarat. Prasad, who said he was talking to newspersons not as a lawyer but as a BJP leader, soon forgot his words when faced with ‘uncomfortable questions’ and said he reminded the journalists of his credentials. The comments which came from him were “I have had talks with media persons in Delhi. I also address international media. This is not a trial court.”