Senior BJP leader LK Advani's recent remark over the need for probity in public life seems to have provided fresh ammunition for opposition parties as they on Sunday said that foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhra Raje must "own up responsibility" in the Lalit Modi controversy.
"It is a very clear indication from the senior-most leader of BJP that its ministers, when they are implicated, when there are allegations against them, should own up responsibility. "The Prime Minister should come out with a clear explanation. Nothing is happening. It is in this context that he (Advani) has given this opinion. So, I think that Advaniji's opinion is the reflection of thinking in general of the people," said senior Congress leader PC Chacko.
In a veiled message to the Narendra Modi government in the wake of the row involving Swaraj and Raje, the BJP patriarch had on Saturday said there is a need to maintain probity in public life and recalled how he had resigned soon after his name cropped up in the Hawala scam.
"The very mention of Advaniji's resignation now means what? It is a hint that he wants that these two people should own moral responsibility," added Chacko.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said it was now clear that the ruling BJP does not intend to walk on the path of political morality.
"They had claimed to be a party with a difference. What difference is that? They want to protect their own people... They might be feeling that if they take action against one it may trigger a process. By now, it is clear that they don't intend to walk on the path of political morality. This is what Advaniji has also cautioned about," Kumar said.
Advani had resigned as an MP in 1996 following allegations of his involvement in the infamous Hawala scam. He was consequently re-elected in 1998 after his name was cleared. Entries found in the diaries of Hawala broker SK Jain were presented as crucial evidence against top politicians, including Advani, in the court by CBI.