National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leader L.K. Advani on Thursday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to quit "forthwith" and said he had lost the right to govern after leaked US diplomatic cables revealed that the Congress paid off opposition MPs to win a trust vote in 2008.
"The NDA demands that this government has no moral right to continue and it should quit," the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader told reporters here as parliament plunged into turmoil over the WikiLeaks cables carried by The Hindu Thursday.
Accusing the Congress-led government of "political immorality", the former deputy prime minister in the NDA government said: "UPA I survived on the strength of political sin. The PM has no moral authority or legitimacy to lead the country. He must quit forthwith."
The published US embassy cable said that an American diplomat was shown a huge quantity of money by Nachiketa Kapur, described as a political aide to Congress leader Satish Sharma, meant to be given to MPs to vote for the government.
Some MPs, Kapur allegedly told the diplomat, had already been paid money.
"Among the one important factor that has earned India respect is that we are a sound democracy. The Indian democracy has been maligned by these exposure, capping it all is today's WikiLeaks exposure. A person who is proud of his democracy feels ashamed," he said.
Advani pointed out that the 2008 parliament trust vote related to the controversial India-US civil nuclear deal that threatened to topple Manmohan Singh's government.
"The Amercian embassy was interested in the vote of confidence," the BJP leader said, and described the Congress as "a friendly party" in American view.
"The finance minister's defence in the Rajya Sabha that diplomatic immunity prevents the government from investigating the cables is of no avail. The diplomatic immunity extends to protecting the secrecy of the cable. The cable has already been released to the public. The diplomatic immunity does not extend to protect an Indian offender who has committed an act of bribery in India," he said.
Advani also rubbished Mukherjee's second defence that the offence has nothing to do with the 15th Lok Sabha as it occurred during the 14th Lok Sabha and that the bribery was committed outside parliament.
"It was the time when delimitation was done and many MPs were vulnerable as they could lose their seats. The Congress approached those MPs who were vulnerable, they tried to find those who could be corrupted and use them. Our MPs acted as whistle blowers," Advani said.
"From stinking scams to suicides or maybe something else, there seem to be no end to the scandals and stink that accompanies this government. These allegations of corruption shall continue till it (UPA II) is in power," he said.