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Congress, BJP fight over cash-for-vote blame

Accusing the government of “misusing” agencies to save its skin, the BJP today gave notice to both houses of Parliament to discuss cash for votes scam.

delhi Updated: Sep 07, 2011 10:46 IST

Accusing the government of “misusing” agencies to save its skin, the BJP on Wednesday gave notice to both houses of Parliament to discuss the cash for votes scam.

However, the Congress denied the Opposition charges that no action has been initiated against the beneficiaries of the scam while whistleblowers were booked.

The arrest of two of its ‘whistleblowers’, MPs Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Bhagora in connection with the cash-for-votes scam saw the BJP accuse the investigation of trying to shield the Congress, the "real beneficiary" of the scam.

The party has been accusing the government of “misusing” agencies to save its skin and hit out at political rivals, and sees this as the latest evidence of government “misuse”.

The government on its part rubbished the BJP’s charge — echoed by Left parties — that UPA I benefited from “bribes” given to the MPs at the time of the 2008 trust vote, saying its comfortable majority proved these charges to be baseless.

The Congress washed its hands off Amar Singh saying the law will take its own course.

AICC spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, "A political party like Congress has no occasion to comment on such things. Congress believes in the due processes of law."

Distancing itself from Singh, the ruling party said due process of law was followed in the case and that the arrest was the culmination of a "very closely monitored" probe by the Supreme Court.

“Congress government did not need any votes. You can check records and see how many votes we won,” parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Bansal said.

According to the BJP, Amar Singh was working to secure an illegal majority for the UPA government, and the three BJP MPs worked as whistleblowers to expose the bribery. The party also said if no bribes were given, then there was no question of the BJP MPs having “entrapped” anyone, as entrapment means trapping someone who is innocent.

“BJP has been saying all along that the Manmohan Singh government was saved in an illegal manner by paying bribes to MPs. We condemn the arrest of the whistleblower MPs. Delhi Police should expand the ambit of its probe to find out the role of the Congress,” BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.

“Amar Singh wasn’t purchasing MPs for making an SP government but to save a Congress government.”

A party leader pointed out that after the 2008 trust vote, the BJP expelled 8 of its MPs: four, who voted for the government and four, who abstained from voting.

However, BJP MP Ashok Argal, one of the three BJP MPs who had waved the currency notes in Parliament, said, “If we had indulged in corruption would we have called for TV cameras?”

First Published: Sep 07, 2011 10:14 IST