Rejecting as "unjustified" and"fancy" BJP's renewed demand for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's resignation over coal block allocation scam, Congress Saturday launched a counter attack at the Opposition party reminding it of its drubbing in Karnataka assembly polls.
The Congress was responding to senior BJP leader LK Advani's remarks that now there is no logic in the Prime Minister's continuance.
"Having decided to drop the law minister who was protecting the Prime Minister, then the consequences should follow. The consequence is that the Prime Minister must resign now," according to Advani.
Dismissing the demand, Union minister Manish Tewari said, "the logical culmination of the people's verdict in Karnataka should be a serious, sustained and sober introspection of the BJP's policies, politics and philosophy over the past nine years."
Seeking to turn the tables on BJP over its charge of delay in resignations of Union ministers Ashwani Kumar and PK Bansal, party spokesperson Bhakta Charan Das asked, "How many months BJP had taken to decide over fate of its former President Nitin Gadkari, former Karanataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa and former Uttarakhand chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, when their resignations were sought after corruption charges."
"BJP has nothing else to do except demanding resignations," he added.
Another party spokesperson Sandip Dikshit said there is no question of the Prime Minister's resignation and that it is "one of those fancy demands of the BJP. It is totally unjustified and uncalled for".
External affairs minister Salman Khurshid also dismissed the demand and said, "this is a reason why people in political life refuse to do what is morally the right thing to do because it is not taken in right perspective. You see it as a sign of weakness."
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh, while describing the resignations of the two Union Ministers as "appropriate", took a dig at BJP saying "this has never been the character of the BJP."
There is a view in the party that the Prime Minister dealt only with policy decisions, which remained in the legislature's domain. Also, it was noted that the coal block allocation policy was a "continuation from NDA" time.
The Congress, which decided in favour of the resignations of Bansal and Kumar, has therefore decided to back the Prime Minister strongly and corner the BJP over coal allocation issue citing the previous statements made by its leaders in support of the policy.
Das also quoted from the previous remarks of Leaders of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley to drive home the point that they were in favour of the existing policy.
Das said that being the main Opposition party, the BJP should behave responsibly.
He also took a dig at BJP for wasting precious time of Parliament, saying this happened due to the opposition party's "carelessness and irresponsibility".
"BJP did not get any benefit from the drama of resignation it played in Parliament rather it had to suffer losses in Karnataka. BJP should now gracefully accept its defeat and work to strengthen its organization rather than making such demands," he said.
Attempting to a make a difference between the role of Prime Minister and the outgoing law minister over the coal controversy, Khurshid disapproved of the Opposition bid to target the Prime Minister after Kummar's resignation.
"...Instead of appreciating something like that, you end up raising your demands to higher level...If somebody makes a charge which is unsubstantiated, completely unreasonable and you just immediately say fine you resign, then nobody will be able to function...," he said.
Tewari said that with the BJP "having failed as a responsible Opposition, one shudders to think of the fate of the nation in the very unlikely eventuality of them being on the treasury benches."
He added that fortunately the wise people of India will never allow this "travesty" to take place again.
At the outset, Das said "Congress takes action. These things are not tolerated in the party under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. History is witness to it. What has been proved from yesterday's action is that we don't believe in mere words."
Echoing similar views, Digvijaya Singh said, "whatever decision, the Congress president and the Prime Minister took is appropriate. If they (Bansal and Kumar) are at fault, strict action will be taken against them. But if they are innocent, we would like CBI to complete the investigations fast so that they can prove their innocence".
Bansal and Kumar resigned Friday over the controversy surrounding the allegations of corruption in a railway job scandal and interference with CBI probe in the coal scam.