The spotlight was on corruption on the first day of the BJP national executive meet, which got underway in Lucknow on Friday.
As party president Nitin Gadkari touched upon the need to have an independent mechanism to appoint the lokpal, at the sidelines of the meeting, senior leader and parliamentary public accounts committee chairman Murli Manohar Joshi took on textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran. Maran, he said, had played a role in the starting of the 2G spectrum scam.
“Maran started a big correspondence to get the terms of references changed and separate the pricing of the spectrum,” Joshi said. “He took away the power from the group of ministers to look into the various aspects of allocation of spectrum and policy of pricing. All powers that must have vested with the group of ministers were transferred to the telecom department. That is how the whole thing started.”
Questioning why Maran changed the cabinet decision of 2003 — that spectrum pricing will be determined in conjunction with the finance ministry -- Joshi said: “In my opinion, if at that very moment something had been seriously thought about, perhaps this issue could have been solved.”
At the meeting, meanwhile, Gadkari highlighted the importance of a good showing in 2012 assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, reiterating the words of party stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee: “The passage to Delhi goes via Lucknow.”
The party’s anxiousness to reclaim UP is understandable. In 1996, the BJP came to power in the state with 174 legislators and a 33.31% vote share. But by the 2007 polls, the figure had shrunk to 51 legislators and a vote share of just 19.51%.
The BJP’s impressive showing in 1996 assembly polls had reflected in Lok Sabha in 1998, with the state contributing 57 of the paty’s 182 parliamentarians.
As UP slipped away from BJP, so did Delhi.
To attack the flanks of the Mayawati government on the land acquisition issue, the party has decided to adopt a separate resolution on it. Before the meeting began, senior party leader Rajnath Singh said: “Till the Centre comes out with the amended land acquisition act, all acquisition of land must be stopped immediately.”