Did BJP hesitate to raise Vadra issue last year?
Did the BJP balk at raising the issue of Robert Vadra's business deals when they first surfaced in March 2011? BJP insiders are asking if the party ceded ground to the activists, when it came to attacking the Congress on corruption. Shekhar Iyer reports.Kejriwal maligning me for publicity: Vadra | Cong slams Kejriwal for targeting Vadradelhi Updated: Oct 08, 2012 08:17 IST
Did the BJP balk at raising the issue of Robert Vadra's business deals when they first surfaced in March 2011?
This question has been doing the rounds within the party since activists-turned-politicians Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan went public with their allegations against Vadra.
But BJP insiders are asking if the party ceded ground to the activists, when it came to attacking the Congress on corruption.
The debate within BJP continues despite the buzz that the activists could target a BJP leader next to show their "equidistance" between the Congress and the BJP on the issue of corruption.
But, party leaders say the matter was discussed both before and after a newspaper report on Vadra was published on March 14 last year.
In fact, they say, the allegations levelled by the activists are based on the report.
The core group of the BJP, which discussed the issue last year, was apparently divided on pursuing the issue on the basis of the newspaper report.
Some senior leaders, including Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh, felt "it would not be good form of politics to target family members of political rivals".
They wanted "more evidence" to surface before the BJP launched a full-scale attack. Other BJP leaders agreed with their view.
Subsequently, Swaraj told the media on March 16, 2011 that "the matter is a serious one and the party is gathering documents to raise it with the prominence it deserves."
She also said the party had "entrusted" senior leader Arun Jaitley to collect facts on Vadra's rise.
Even CPM leader Sitaram Yechury had said, "It looks like a serious matter and our party is ascertaining facts and will come up with a structured reaction on this."
But neither the BJP nor the Left raised the issue later.
According to Lok Sabha MP Lok Sabha (Jharkhand) MP Nishikant Dubey, "I had given a notice to raise the Vadra issue in the Lok Sabha on March 15 last year."
He said his demand to suspend question hour was rejected by the Speaker. A similar effort to raise the issue in Rajya Sabha by Jaitley was also rejected.
"Had the party gone public with the issue, an influential section of the media would have backed the Congress against the BJP for hitting below the belt," a party leader said.