Blaming the "sheer obstinacy and obduracy" of the Congress for the washout of the Winter session of Parliament, BJP-led NDA on Tuesday announced plans for nation-wide rallies on the issue of massive corruption on 2-G spectrum and other scams.
Senior BJP leader L K Advani, who was flanked by leaders of his party and other allies, however, told a press conference that the opposition was not clamouring for a mid-term poll, which was only used as "scare-mongering" by the ruling front.
He also accused Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of being worried about leakage of tapped telephonic conversations between corporate lobbyists Niira Radia and others, and not about corruption and other issues thrown up by publication of those reports.
Advani took further digs at the Congress, saying that for long the opposition had "wrongly believed" that it was the Congress President who formed the Cabinet but now it appears the corporate lobbyists decided who should get which ministry.
"We have decided that (since) we did not get justice in Parliament, we will take to the streets... go to the people. We will ask them whether they also wanted that Parliament should have continued to function (despite the 2-G scam)," Advani said.
With the Winter Session of Parliament coming to an end on Tuesday, NDA has decided to hold a rally in the capital on December 22. This will be followed by rallies against corruption in Mumbai (January 16), Ludhiana, Lucknow, Rohtak, Jaipur, Patna, Bhubaneshwar, Bhopal, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Chennai.
Justifying the NDA's protests in Parliament which prevented it from functioning for 22 consecutive working days, Advani said had this not been done, the 2-G scam would just have been "talked out" and no action would have been taken.
"The way no bill was passed, no work was done- this has exposed the corruption in UPA. No debate held in Parliament would have exposed it to this extent. It would have meant the issue of corruption would have been talked out, even if we had debated the issue," Advani said.
He hit back at Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi for holding the opposition responsible for the stalemate in Parliament.
"Today (Tuesday) when the government is trying- both the PM and Congress President - to put the whole blame for Parliament not functioning and saying that so many crores of rupees were wasted, we want to ask them if we had not protested would the RS 1.76 lakh crore scam been exposed?" he asked.
He claimed that opposition pressure had led to the removal of Telecom minister A Raja, Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan and CWG organising committee chairperson Suresh Kalmadi (from the post of Congress Parliamentary party secretary).
Advani blamed the Congress for "sheer stubborness, sheer obduracy and the hope that since Raja has been removed, the country should not come to know about all those who benefitted from the scam" and alleged that this had led to the stalemate in Parliament.
"The whole thing has become a farce... entire handling by this government of this particular session and the important issue of corruption," he said.
Asked if the NDA was ready for mid-term polls in case the government decides to dissolve Parliament, Advani said the Congress was only indulging in scare-mongering to get the support of its MPs.
"Have we demanded a mid-term poll? Has the opposition demanded a mid-term poll? The mid-term poll talk has come officially. I am not going to name the minister. But I have heard it (later) being said by ministers deliberately because they know that Parliament has been elected just one-and-a-half years ago....," Advani said.
He maintained that some parties may welcome a mid-term poll but the "average MP, who has been elected for five years" would not like to curtail his term after one-and-a-half years.
"This is scare-mongering. It is only to frighten the MPs and to ensure that this kind of unity that has come about...This (unity) has not come about to throw out this government. As far as Parliament is concerned, this is not one solution we have offered," he said.
The NDA Working Chairperson said after the Bihar elections, which he argued reflected the general mood of the country, the government would not like to go for mid-term polls.
"There are many parties which are with us on the issue of corruption but they are not with us on no-confidence motion. They are not in favour of election being held today," Advani said.
He alleged that the Radia tapes had exposed how the UPA Cabinet was formed and who decided the portfolios.
"It appeared that this UPA government was not formed by the Prime Minister. We were for long under the wrong impression that it was done at 10, Janpath, Congress President formed it, but now we have come to know that who all should be in the council of ministers and who should get which portfolio...," Advani said.
He also took digs at the Prime Minister for ordering an inquiry into how tapped conversations were leaked outside the government.
"He (Prime Minister) is worried only about that. He has asked the Cabinet Secretary to look into issue of telephone tapping and suggest measures. He should be worried about credibility... Are these matters about which the PM should be worried? I don't understand," Advani said.