PM slams Opposition, says charges are speculative
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday dismissed the WikiLeaks expose, alleging bribery during the 2008 confidence vote, as “speculative and unverifiable communications,” which should not be given dignity. HT reports. Graphics: PM's rebuttal | Read WikiLeaks Cableindia Updated: Mar 19, 2011 02:00 IST
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday dismissed the WikiLeaks expose, alleging bribery during the 2008 confidence vote, as “speculative and unverifiable communications,” which should not be given dignity.Singh’s hard-hitting statement in both Houses of Parliament was in response to the Opposition’s attacks during the last two days, following the publication of a US diplomat’s cable to the US state department that the Congress had bribed MPs to save the government.
The Prime Minister told the BJP and the Left parties that they were attempting to revive old charges that had been soundly rejected by the people. "An issue was raised that the offence of bribery was committed in India. (The) government rejects that allegation absolutely and firmly."
"I wish to make it clear that no one from the Congress party or the government indulged in any unlawful act during the trust vote during July 2008,” Singh said.
The government cannot confirm the veracity, contents or even the existence of communications between the US embassy in Delhi and the state department in Washington, he said.
"It is most surprising that speculative, unverified and unverifiable communications should be given dignity and seized upon by the Opposition parties to revive old charges.”
Taking potshots at the Opposition, Singh said he was disappointed that they had forgotten what happened after the UPA government had won the trust vote on July 22, 2008.
He reminded the BJP and the Left parties that despite their repeated attempts to raise the allegations of bribery against the UPA government during the 2009 general elections, both saw their seats tally go down.
“How did the people respond to those allegations?” the PM asked, saying the BJP’s tally of 138 seats in the 14th Lok Sabha was reduced to 116 in the 15th Lok Sabha.
And the Left parties found their tally reduced from 59 to 24.
On the contrary, Singh said, the Congress increased its seats from 145 to 206, which showed the confidence of the people in the party and the government.
Earlier, addressing a function in the morning, Singh said, “I have no knowledge of any such purchases and I am absolutely categorical, I have not authorised anyone to purchase any votes. I am not aware of any acts of purchase of votes.”