LS: BJP to take up graft charges against Cong leaders, state govts

  • Kumar Uttam, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 22, 2015 01:14 IST

The government, which faced a rough time in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, plans to target the Congress by raising in Parliament corruption charges against its leaders and state governments.

As Parliament opened for the 24-day monsoon session on Tuesday, the Opposition stalled the proceedings in the Rajya Sabha, demanding resignations of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and chief ministers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

“If state matters concerning Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are allowed to be raised, then there are several members who would want to raise issues about other states. Is the Congress ready for a debate on all those issues,” telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

The ‘battle of states’ will be fought in the Lok Sabha that was adjourned immediately after paying tributes to a sitting member who passed away recently.

The government, sources said, was keen to put its majority in the Lok Sabha to good use to hit back at the Opposition, which is unlikely to give any concession to the treasury benches in the Upper House, where it outnumbers the ruling combine. Party members have been asked to raise in both the Houses various scandals that have been reported from the Congress-ruled states, BJP sources said.

The members will seek discussion on bar bribery case and solar power scam in Kerala, farmer suicides in Karnataka, flood-relief scandal in Uttarakhand and allegations of corruption against Himachal chief minister Virbhadra Singh.

The BJP, which has decided not to bow down to the Opposition’s demand for resignations of its ministers, will also target the Congress over recent revelations by a US-based firm that it paid bribes to secure projects in Goa and Assam.

A senior minister said while other opposition parties wanted to debate Lalitgate and Vyapam and move on, the Congress went back on its demand for debate after the government promptly agreed to it.

“We get a distinct and clear impression that the opposition wants disturbance for some time. They don’t want a discussion,” finance minister Arun Jaitley told reporters. “The government is publicly declaring…that we are ready for a discussion in any format, at any time.”

Swaraj also said she was ready for a debate over her alleged links to former IPL chief Lalit Modi. “I am ready for a debate today itself. I asked Arun Jaitley to convey this to Rajya Sabha,” she tweeted.

The Congress wants Swaraj and Rajasthan CM Vasundhra Raje to quit and face a probe for their alleged ties with Lalit Modi.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s government in Madhya Pradesh has been rocked by a multi-crore recruitment and admission scam now being probed by the CBI.

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