Coal row: Congress steps up attack on Opposition
As the BJP prepares to take the political battle over the coal allocation to streets, the Congress on Wednesday slammed the saffron party for stalling parliament. The party alleged that the “thinking that killed Mahatma Gandhi is now destroying democracy”.
Telecom minister Kapil Sibal's hard hitting statement came a day after Congress president Sonia Gandhi asked her party to “stand up and fight” the opposition aggressively.
“The BJP does not think about the nation. Break the country, come to power. It wants to come to power before 2014. It just believes in the ideology of disruption and killing of democracy. The thinking that killed Mahatma Gandhi is now destroying democracy,” Sibal told a news conference at the Congress headquarters.
The BJP was quick to rebut. “Several commissions have held that RSS was not responsible. Sibal is relatively new to politics and needs to know its history a little more,” BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
He countered the BJP's charge that the screening committee after 2004 did not follow transparent methods by questioning the procedures of allocation of coal blocks between 1998 and 2004 when the NDA was in power.
“Allocation of coal blocks between 1998 and 19 August 2003 was done without any procedure whatsoever…If the screening committee's procedure post 2005 are being questioned and presumptive loss calculated, what about the presumptive loss on allocations made between 1998 and 2004?” Sibal, who also holds the HRD portfolio, asked.
He also tore into the BJP's arguments that the Congress-led UPA government was undermining the constitutional authority by challenging the CAG's findings.
“Arun Jaitley and his party seem to be in a state of selective amnesia these days….It is time to refresh his memory,” Sibal said and then went on to specify the BJP's tirade against constitutional authorities, especially the CAG, during the NDA rule. From August 31 to September 2, top BJP leaders, including LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Jaitley, will hold public meetings in 40 cities across India against the UPA government.
Rejecting BJP's demand for cancellation of coal block allocations in the wake of the CAG report, Sibal said it will spur inflation and hike cost of power and steel.
Meanwhile, BJP members staged a demonstration at Jantar Mantar and later took out protest march to Prime Minister's Office where they were arrested.