The Supreme Court’s marching order to PJ Thomas has made Prime Minister Manmohan Singh the Opposition’s prime target. But the Congress leadership decided at a core group meeting on Thursday to back Singh fully.
The BJP, however, stopped short of asking Singh — who is likely to make a statement in Parliament — to quit. Because, a BJP leader explained: “Politics is not done in one day. Allow things to build up.”
Law minister M Veerappa Moily, however, said the judgment reflected the failure “of the system of the government, but is not a reflection on the collegium or the PM”.
Besides Singh and P Chidambaram, the committee had leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj on it. Swaraj repeatedly said she had apprised the committee of the palmolein scam, but was brushed aside.
For the BJP, attacking the PM is to reclaim its diminished constituency and build a campaign that the government’s “corruption” starts at the top.
A BJP leader listed another gain: “The more the PM seems unstable, the other hopefuls in the UPA will fight each other and make the government less cohesive.” BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “We’re entitled to know what was the coalition compulsion behind the appointment.”
Leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley made a more caustic remark – had the PM been misled or had he chosen to mislead himself? The message: own up or blame it on the home minister. The CPM, too claimed the PM and the government stood “exposed”.
The BJP has been trying to target the PM for some time now. Jaitley said recently Singh should step down if he did not want a JPC probe into the 2G case. This time, the BJP believes it has tasted blood.