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BJP muddying Presidential poll

The Congress charges the BJP for resorting to a coctail of falsehoods for purposes of spreading canards against Pratibha Patil and muddying the poll process.

india Updated: Jun 29, 2007 21:13 IST
Srinand Jha

Having developed a scare from a woman, the Opposition BJP – in a fit of desperation – has resorted to a cocktail of falsehoods, half-truths and concoctions for purposes of spreading canards against the UPA Presidential nominee Pratibha Patil and muddying the poll process, the Congress has charged.

It is our commitment to upholding the dignity of the high office of President that prevents us from raising questions about the Vice President’s educational qualifications, Congress spokesman Abhishekh Manu Singhvi said.

On the other hand, the BJP – searching for an issue that might unite the NDA coalition – is delving deeper in its “perverse” game of throwing up wild, outlandish and even amusing charges against the UPA nominee, Singhvi said.

Responding to the BJP charge that the Congress was attempting to terrorize voters of the electoral college by submitting a disqualification petition against Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat’s principal proposer K. Natwar Singh, Singhvi said this allegation was “laughable”. However, contrary to the position earlier articulated, Singhvi said on Friday that the draft petition seeking Singh’s disqualification for anti-party activities had been shown to the Vice President and taken back in the month of May. Last Tuesday, Singhvi had stated that a draft petition had been submitted to the Vice President in May (returned on technical grounds) and re-submitted on June 26.

At a press conference on Friday, Singhvi attempted to focus on the “pack of lies” contained in the BJP booklet listing charges against Patil. Extracts of the RBI report have been selectively and cleverly woven in the booklet that borrows heavily from the memorandum submitted by the Pratibha Cooperative Bank, he said. Facts, he added, had been deliberately twisted.

Elaborating on instances of such mischief, Singhvi pointed out that Chapter-3 of the booklet alleged that loans worth Rs.2.24 crore had been disbursed to nine individuals. A study of available RBI documents show that loans worth only Rs.32 lakhs were granted to six persons during the period under question.

Similarly, he said, that the booklet states that Patil was Chairperson of the bank until 2003. Singhvi stressed that the facts of the case were that Patil was not the founder chairperson; occupied the post of chairperson for a brief period of 38 days in 1990 – and ceased to be a director after 1994. There is not one notice, finding or paragraph in the RBI reports against Patil, he said. Similarly, there are no direct allegations against Patil in the murder case, Singhvi added.