Soon after the Centre on Friday announced that it would appoint a judge for the snoopgate probe commission before May 16, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley said the next government would have the right to review the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance's (UPA's) "desperate" last-minute decisions.
Exuding confidence about the BJP's win in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Jaitley also wrote in an article on the party website that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had robbed Rahul Gandhi (her brother and the Congress vice-president) of the "limelight".
Pointing out that the Congress was on the back foot in the last leg of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha added, "If discourtesies could win votes, the Congress would secure a landslide victory".
"The BJP leaders and supporters should concentrate only on three issues — vikas (development), leadership and stability." He added the Congress had left voters "more and more confused".
Taking a dig at the Congress' family, Jaitley said, "When he (Rahul) was not seen as being able to deliver, the mother stepped in. The focus has now shifted to the sister.
"Ostensibly intended to attack Narendra Modi daily in somewhat impolite language, the sister has succeeded in robbing the brother from being in the limelight. Attack Modi was the strategy but a dilute Rahul is the consequence."
Jaitley said the UPA had made three unsuccessful efforts in recent days.
"First, they tried to appoint two new information commissioners; next, they tried to fill up the quorum of the search committee for appointment of the Lokpal, and last, they are trying desperately to get at least one judge to agree to head the snoopgate commission. I doubt very much if any of these moves are likely to succeed."
Earlier in the day, home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the move to appoint a judge for snoopgate commission before result day on May 16 would not amount to violation of the model code of conduct, as the decision was taken more than four months ago.
Referring to the Centre's fresh push to the snoopgate probe at a time when the formation of a new government is around two weeks away, Jaitley said, "This UPA is trying to impose its decisions in haste as its defeat is certain."
The snooping controversy had surfaced in the run-up to the assembly elections late last year after two investigative news websites made public tapes in which Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's aide Amit Shah was purportedly heard directing the police to put a young woman and a senior IAS officer under surveillance in 2009.
Modi, the BJP's prime ministerial nominee, has drawn flak from rival political leaders, including Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, over the controversy in this election season.
A day ago, Jaitley, who made his Lok Sabha poll debut this year from Amritsar, had written in a Facebook post that all the judges approached by the UPA government had refused to be a part of the "desperate" exercise.
The BJP leader had also he would be surprised if someone agreed to "lend" himself to the Union government for a "political and malafide" move, especially when polling was already held in 438 of the 543 constituencies.
(With inputs from IANS)