Ratan Tata’s charge that “many of the flip-flops in the telecom policy occurred during the BJP regime” drew a sharp reaction from the BJP, which later refused to get into what it called a “fight between corporate lobbies”.
But the Congress attacked the BJP, saying it was shying from a debate on 2G as its leadership was involved in taking “wrong” decisions when NDA was in power leading to a loss of R60,000 crore to the country.
CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said “the BJP’s credibility has gone down in the eyes of the people due to its internal contradictions reflected by the varied stands the party...”
Initially, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said Tata was “no judge” and his views won’t be given importance as he himself was a “beneficiary” of UPA’s telecom policy.
Later, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said his party did not want get into the charges traded by two corporate figures. He said the BJP was ready for probe into the NDA period, and pressed for a JPC in this regard.
“The BJP has no intention of getting involved in what arguments are being made between different corporates and believed it should not get entangled in corporate wars,” he said.
“The real scam is of 2008 when spectrum was allotted at 2001 prices, and how telecom came under one political party’s control and the kind of lobbies that came to play a big role causing huge losses...”
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said, “Is it not a fact that in July 1999 after the Kargil war then PM Atal Behari Vajpayee took the communication portfolio from Jagmohan and helped the telecom companies...” But Javadekar said, “We unleashed the revolution and today we are boasting of more than 600 million mobiles in the country. It is due to the pragmatic and visionary policy of the NDA and that is why we are proud of our policy.”
Tewari said the BJP should respond to allegations that the late Pramod Mahajan distributed “free of cost spectrum to the operators on Jan 31, 2001”. “In 2004 when elections were on and model code of conduct was applicable, the NDA reduced the revenue share of the telecom operators and caused loss to the exchequer.”