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BJP says only Pratibha can answer allegations

The BJP rejected UPA Presidential nominee Pratibha Patil's dismissal of allegations against her on the ground that they are motivated, reports Shekhar Iyer.

india Updated: Jul 04, 2007 23:25 IST
Shekhar Iyer
Shekhar Iyer
Hindustan Times

The BJP rejected UPA Presidential nominee Pratibha Patil's dismissal of allegations against her on the ground that they are motivated and have already been answered.

"Who has answered them?" asked BJP spokesperson Prakash after Patil's statement was released to the media after she was advised by senior Congress leaders not to speak to the media in the run up to the Presidential election.

On Tuesday, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had ruled out Patil giving rebuttal to the charges, saying, "Why should she answer?"

Javedekar said questions that need her answer are whether it is true that she formed the cooperative bank set up in her name? Whether the Reserve Bank of India cancelled its licence after it ended up with huge non-performing assets because of advances given to her relations?

Whether it is true she signed on a resolution passed by the bank's board of directors on November 19, 1990, calling for disbursal of loans to her relations? Whether on June 22, 2002, long after she quit as head of the bank, the board of directors a resolution that authorised her to appoint a CEO for the bank?

Instead of addressing the specific issues, Patil was merely accusing the Opposition of trying to demean the election to the highest office in the country, Javedekar said.

The BJP also distributed a statement issued by Vijay Vilhekar of the Shetkari Sanghatana, saying that the organisation has been running a campaign against liquor shops in Maharashtra, including the one run by her brother-in-law, Vijaysingh Shekhawat, at Khallar, Daryapur.

Vilheskar accused the family of using her clout to keep the shop running though local women had taken recourse under the state law to get it closed. The law bans liquor shops in areas where more than 50 per cent of women give a written statement against them.

Meanwhile, senior BJP leaders have begun canvassing with MPs and MLAs for NDA-backed independent candidate, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. Ironically, they have chosen to talk to their own party MPs and MLAs rather than other party legislators.

Shekhawat's spokesperson Sushma Swaraj addressed BJP MPs and MLAs of Rajasthan in Jaipur, the home ground of the Vice President.

Advani will address BJP MLAs in Bhopal on July 10. Joshi will address a similar meeting in Lucknow on July 9.

In Jaipur, Swaraj said the NDA was not depending or encouraging any cross-voting as the election to the President's post is not being held on party lines or any party symbol as per the Election Commission's guidelines.

No political party could issue a whip in favour of its candidate and hence the question of cross-voting does not arise, she said.

"We are seeking votes upon wisdom and confident of getting their support," she said.

"We are appealing all 4896 electoral college members comprising 4120 MLAs and 776 MPs for universal vote and support in favour of independent candidate Shekhawat whom the NDA is supporting," Swaraj added.

First Published: Jul 04, 2007 23:21 IST