The war of words between the Congress and the BJP on alleged links with lobbyist Niira Radia continues.
While the BJP demanded the Congress must apologise to its leader LK Advani for associating his name with the lobbyist, the Congress retaliated by saying the allegations against the BJP were "serious".
Two days back, the Congress had said – citing Radia's former business partner Rao Dhiraj Singh – that the NDA government had given a piece of land to a trust linked with Radia and that Advani himself had attended a function there.
The BJP by saying Advani had attended a function of Pejawar Swami, a known Hindu saint.
This was followed by the Pejawar Swami trust saying that (a) they had been allotted land by the Narasimha Rao government in 1996; (b) it had no links with Radia, and (c) Advani, Sheila Dikshit, Oscar Fernandes and Uma Bharti had come for the inauguration of the first building there.
"Advani ji attended a function of Pejawar Swamy," BJP general secretary and chief spokesman Ravishankar Prasad said in Lucknow, adding, "allegations levelled against Nitin Gadkari have turned out to be baseless and Ananth Kumar has already issued a legal notice ...The Congress should apologise to Advani ji."
Congress leader Manish Tiwari replied : "The BJP cannot whitewash its linkages with Niira Radia. Is it not a fact that Ranjan Bhattacharya's (former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee's foster son-in-law) conversations with Radia have been made public; is it not a fact that newspapers had reported how an NDA civil aviation minister wanted to issue a commercial airline licence to a company promoted by Radia, which had a paid up capital of only Rs1 lakh? The allegations must be investigated."