BJP for privilege motion against PM

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Mar 19 2011, 07:57am hrs
Taking its attack against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a notch further, the BJP on Friday announced it would move a privilege motion against him in Parliament.

Reiterating its demand that the Prime Minister should resign, the main Opposition said he was the biggest and the primary beneficiary of bribery and was equally guilty of the offence and demanded a CBI probe into the cash-for-vote episode.

Minutes after the Prime Ministers statement, an aggressive BJPhaving denied the opportunity to seek clarifications from the PM in both the Houses said his assertion on the floor of the House that a Parliamentary committee which went into the cash-for-vote issue had concluded that there was insufficient evidence to draw any conclusion of bribery was completely at variance with truth.

The core of his statement flies in the face of what the majority of the members in the committee had said.......There cannot be more clear contradiction between the Prime Ministers statement and the committees report, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said. Parliamentary affairs minister P K Bansal strongly contested the BJPs charge.

His Lok Sabha counterpart Sushma Swaraj announced that the party would move a privilege motion against the PM. He also demanded a CBI inquiry into the cash-for-vote scandal. She also rejected Prime Ministers assertion that the charges of bribery had been rejected by the people saying by that logic criminals would claim exoneration for crimes committed in the past if they win an election. It will open a new chapter in criminalisation of politics, she added.

Quoting selectively from the report of the parliamentary committee which looked into allegations that money was offered to some Lok Sabha members in connection with the vote of confidence in 2008, Jaitley said the report clearly states that Sanjeev Saxena - who was accused of being a conduit for delivering money to some MPs - might not be telling the truth that he is no longer in the employment of Amar Singh.

The report, he argued, mentions that Saxena was a bribe giver wittingly or unwittingly, making it amply clear that bribe was given. This flies in the face of the Prime Ministers argument that the committee found there was insufficient evidence to draw any conclusion of bribery. Backing Jaitley argument, Swaraj pointed out that the very first recommendation of the parliamentary panel was that the episode may be further by an appropriate investigating agency.

Making light of the BJPs assertions, Bansal argued that no part of the Prime Ministers statement related to the finding of the Parliamentary committee on cash-for-votes scam is incorrect.

Besides charging the Prime Minister with dereliction of duty for not referring the matter to an investigating agency as suggested by the panel, Jaitley asked whether the Prime Minister would show any repentance over the fact that his government had procured majority through dubious means and accept moral responsibility for such a monumental blunder and resign.