Rahul Gandhi today led Congress’ all out attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over BJP MP Kirti Azad’s suspension as it questioned the PM’s “silence” on alleged corruption in DDCA and accused him of “shielding” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
The opposition party also hailed Azad as “whistleblower” ruing that instead of taking purposive action in the matter, the BJP leadership thought it fit to “shoot down the messenger”. It wondered whether suspending a party member who “exposed” corruption is the new meaning of promised “achche din”, a reference to PM’s poll slogan .
Pillorying the Prime Minister over his “na khaoonga na khaney doonga” election slogan, Gandhi said, “During election campaign, Modi spoke about scams and said he would not allow corruption. But now scams are taking place and the latest is the cricket scam, and the MP who raised it has been suspended (from the BJP).”
“Modi used to say ‘na khaoonga, na khaney doonga’ (will not engage in corruption myself, nor will allow others). But today he is silent. People have started losing faith,” he said while returnig from his two-day visit to Amethi.
At the AICC briefing in Delhi, former Law Minister Ashwini Kumar questioned the NDA government over its “benchmark on corruption” reminding the BJP that it used to make an issue of such incidents during the UPA regime.
“Amidst expectations of a fair and credible probe into the DDCA scam and demands that the Prime Minister sack his Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to ensure probity in public life, Modi has done the opposite. The Congress party is forced to ask as to why are the Prime Minister and BJP shielding, supporting and protecting perpetrators of corruption,” Kumar told reporters.
Rahul said Modi should take action and conduct inquiry into affairs of Delhi and District Cricket Association(DDCA)of which Jaitley was the president for 13 years till 2013.
His remarks came a day after BJP cracked the whip and suspended cricketer-turned-MP Azad, charging him with indulging in anti-party activities and accusing him of “colluding” with Congress and AAP to bring it to “disrepute”.
Under relentless attack from Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and AAP leaders on alleged corruption in Delhi cricket body DDCA, Jaitley today accused him and AAP leaders of lowering the level of public discourse saying vulgarity is not a right available to people in positions.
In a sharp retort, Congress leader Pramod Tiwari said that while AAP has “lowered the dignity” in speech, the BJP has “lowered the dignity in action”.
“Having cited the example of L K Advani, who had resigned from the Cabinet pending the High Court decision in the Hawala case, why is the Prime Minister not asking his Finance Minister to emulate the example of Advani.
“Considering the benchmark established by the BJP during the UPA government for seeking the resignation of UPA Minister, why the double standards now,” Kumar said.
Castigating the government on corruption issue, Kumar asked, “Is the nation being introduced to new BJP vision of ‘achche din’ and ‘sushasan’. Will those who swore by the dictum that Caesar’s wife should be above suspicion now walk the talk? How can BJP run away from the benchmarks of probity it had set for the UPA government.”
He asked is the Prime Minister cannot see that four separate investigations have “established financial irregularities” in DDCA under the charge of Jaitely.
Jaitley has strongly denied all the allegations made against him.
Kumar said, “First was the investigation conducted by the SFIO. An Internal Inquiry Committee of DDCA has confirmed these irregularities. A Court appointed Commission of Inquiry has also confirmed these irregularities.
“Finally, Inquiry Committee’s report of the Delhi government dated November 15 this year has examined the three reports and has upheld the assertions of financial irregularities,” Kumar claimed in a statement.
He also asked whether it was not true that Jaitley “vociferously opposed” attempts by the UPA government to bring DDCA and its parent affiliating body the BCCL under the purview of Right to Information Act.
“With the latest revelations, the answer to this question must be obvious. Is it not true that till date 52 questions raised by Azad have remained answered,” he said, adding that while the judiciary will finally decide who is behind the “corruption” in DDCA, “the question now is of political morality and moral responsibility.”
“It is typical of the hiatus between words and deeds that have come to define the BJP dispensation under PM Modi. We have also heard ad nauseum in the last few years about the invocation of the dictum that Caeserâ€™s wife should be above suspicion. The question that we ask of the Finance Minister is whether he is now ready to walk-the-talk.
“We also ask in the peoplesâ€™ court the question from the Prime Minister whether when he compared the Finance Minister with Shri L.K. Advani – is he not prepared to expect of him the same standard of moral raptitude that was demonstrated by Shri Advani when he stepped down,” Kumar said.
He added “We would also want to know whether atleast on a prima-facie basis – is this or is this not a case which on a minimal basis demands stepping down from the office of the Finance Minister if only for the purpose of upholding and measuring up to the yardsticks that were established by the BJP during the UPA regime.”
Kumar, however, ducked a query on whether Congress will welcome Azad, whose father Bhagwat Jha Azad was Chief Minister of Bihar from Congress.
He also rejected suggestions of any Congress hand ino the matter and reminded that Azad was raising the issue for a long time and that he was associated with BJP and not Congress.