The Congress has decided to step up its attack on the NDA government by linking the “escape” of liquor baron Vijay Mallya and former IPL czar Lalit Modi to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “failure” to deliver his poll promise to bring back black money stashed abroad.
The Mallya issue has given the Congress fresh ammunition to revive the slogans of “suit boot ki sarkar” and “the fair and lovely scheme”. The party has drawn up a strategy to target the government for “allowing Mallya and Lalit Modi” flee the country and thus enable them to “swindle” thousands of crores of taxpayers’ money.
The principal opposition party has so far maintained that the Prime Minister is not keen to bring back black money stashed abroad as it belonged to his “corporate friends”.
Top guns from the Congress like Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge have already upped the ante against the government for allowing Mallya to leave the country despite the liquor baron owing more than Rs 9000 crore to various banks and consortiums.
Azad and Kharge wanted to know why the government did not “confiscate” his passport given that he could have been easily identified at airports as most people recognise the chief of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
The Congress is all set to vociferously raise the Mallya issue and also revive the Lalitgate controversy in and outside Parliament next week.
That the Congress would be unrelenting could be gauged from the fact that Azad even went to the extent of saying that those leaders and MPs, belonging to any party, having enjoyed Mallya’s hospitality should be exposed and taken to task.
The other handle it has on Mallya is that he was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2010 as an Independent candidate from Karnataka for a second term with the support of the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) and the Janata Dal (Secular). He was elected to the Upper House as an Independent for the first time in 2002.
Mallya had then defeated Congress nominee TV Maruthi, one of the biggest silk merchants in Karnataka, with 27 votes of the JD(S), one independent and second preference votes of the BJP.