Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday attacked the opposition and the civil society for “spreading canards and falsehood” against the UPA government. They asked party cadres to fight back, and disprove all the allegations against them.
In her opening remarks at the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party's highest decision-making body, Gandhi defended the Prime Minister and the UPA government against corruption charges. “In a democracy, it is the job of the Opposition to oppose, but the manner in which the Opposition and some anti-Congress elements are — as part of a conspiracy — levelling baseless allegations... is a matter of regret,” she said.
Her defence came in the backdrop of allegations of corruption against the PM in allocation of coal blocks during 2006-09, when he was heading the coal ministry. The reference to “some anti-Congress elements” was widely interpreted as certain members of civil society, who have undertaken a sustained campaign against the Congress on the corruption issue.
For his part, the Prime Minister said that “canards and falsehood” were being spread by “disparate and desperate elements” against his government. “Everyday, one hears of astronomical sums of black money that can be brought back in one stroke. It is alleged that in every area of its activity, our government has swindled unbelievable amounts of money. Nothing can be farther from the truth,” he said.
Both Gandhi and Singh asked party cadres to fiercely fight such allegations.
“The truth is that our government is fully committed to tackle the menace of corruption in public life... we have proved this by taking action on multiple fronts,” he said.
However, social activist Anna Hazare refused to be taken in by Gandhi's defence of the PM. “I have seen the papers, I have my suspicions now. I always thought that he was a clean Prime Minister... there is something wrong,” he said.
“We will send files prepared by our team to her (Sonia) with all the required proof,” he added.