Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani late on Sunday played down the slew of graft charges faced by the ruling party in Karnataka at a rain-hit public meeting in Bangalore as his Jan Chetna Yatra anti-corruption tour entered the state.
"Good governance cannot coexist with corruption. I do not say this just for the Congress but for my party (BJP) also, as there can be no compromise on corruption," Advani told about 5,000 people who braved rains to listen him in the muddy National College grounds in upscale south Bangalore.
Reiterating his firm stand against corruption in public life, Advani recalled telling the party’s state leaders during his previous visit in April 2010 to the city that he would not tolerate corruption by anyone in the southern state where the party came to power for the first time in 2008.
"If we have to fight corruption, we have to set an example by giving good governance. We took action in Karnataka too when the Lokayukta report (on multi-crore mining scam) came out recently," Advani said without taking names of scam-hit party’s first chief minister in south India BS Yeddyurappa or former minister and mining baron G Janardhan Reddy.
Admitting that some of the party’s lawmakers, including former cabinet ministers in the state were facing charges and that they were not yet convicted, the former deputy prime minister said though India got "swaraj (freedom)" over six decades ago, the country was yet to have a "suraj (clean and honest) government".
"I have not seen such a corrupt government in the country," Advani said accusing the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government of plundering the nation with scams such as 2G, Commonwealth Games (CWG) and Adarsh Housing Society.
Advani, however, had a word of praise for chief minister DV Sadananda Gowda and said he was going in right direction and hoped he would provide a good administration.
Gowda assumed office August 4 after Yeddyurappa resigned July 31.
Advani said he considered the cash-for-vote scam that rocked Parliament in 2008 a greater scandal than the 2G spectrum allocation case.
"The Congress used all its members and allies to buy votes and no Congressman can say that he/she is innocent," Advani recalled.
He hailed the three BJP Lok Sabha members who displayed the cash in the house as "heroes".
Dark clouds and sudden downpour kept people away from the venue. Most of the crowds left even before Advani completed his 30-minute speech.
Contrary to plans, party’s national leaders M Venkaiah Naidu, Ravi Shankar Prasad and HN Ananth Kumar could not address the gathering as the two-hour long programme was cut short due to inclement weather.
As many as 11 cabinet ministers owing allegiance to Yeddyurappa kept away from the public rally-cum-meeting.