Refusing to back down from the Snoopgate controversy Sunday, the Congress fired off 10 questions to BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi regarding illegal surveillance of a woman architect even as its allies questioned the party’s hurry to set up an inquiry in its ‘dying hours’.
In its questions, the Congress alleged that out of turn favours were given to the family of the stalked woman to dissuade them from complaining against Modi. It also questioned why contracts were given to the family’s company without tenders.
Modi, however, brushed aside the Centre’s renewed attempt to set up the inquiry, calling it an “act of despair” by a party staring at defeat. “It is highly unbecoming of a lame-duck government to resort to abuse of state power for political ends,” he said in an e-mail interview to IANS.
The decision to set up an inquiry was taken in December but the Centre couldn’t find a judge willing to probe the stalking, allegedly done in 2009 at the behest of Modi and his aide Amit Shah.
Now that it has finally found a judge, the UPA has come under attack from its top allies: The NC and the Nationalist Congress Party.
Sharad Pawar, who heads the NCP – the second-largest member of the UPA – called PM Manmohan Singh to tell him that setting up an inquiry at this juncture was not 'appropriate'. While NCP leader Praful Patel said "it's not the right time" since the polls results were due in just two weeks.
Joining the opposition, J-K chief minister and National Conference's Omar Abdullah tweeted: "Was talking to my dad (Farooq Abdullah) last night and he felt the same way – setting up a inquiry in the dying hours of UPA 2 is just wrong".
As the BJP cheered the dissent within the UPA saying its allies had "found sense",
union minister Salman Khurshid said the differences could be discussed. "There can always be different points of view and at the end of the day you take a call," he said.
An undeterred Congress, however, made it clear that the judge will be appointed.
Party spokesperson and Mahila Congress chief Shoba Oza asserted that there will be "no compromise" on going ahead with the probe as the matter concerns women of the country who constitute half of the population.