| (From left) Nand Kishore Yadav, Ravi Shankar Prasad and CP Thakur in Patna on Saturday. Picture by Ashok Sinha |
Patna, July 28: Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad today questioned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s “accountability” to Assam, which he represents in the Upper House.
Describing the ongoing ethnic clashes in Assam as “regrettable and condemnable”, the BJP general secretary and the party’s chief spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister is in Assam today. I want to know if Singh owes any accountability towards the state that has elected him to the Rajya Sabha for 22 years.”
Prasad said: “The history of conflicts between the Bodos and the Bangladeshi infiltrators is old. But the question is what the Centre and the state government have done so far to stop the ongoing violence, except passing the buck on to each other.”
He added: “Sixty people have been killed and more than three lakh have been rendered homeless. This not only shows Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi’s irresponsible behaviour but also establishes his indifference to the plight of the innocent people.”
Holding the Centre equally responsible for its “indifference” towards tackling the incident, Prasad said it was the Centre’s task to deploy security forces in the affected areas.
On whether Rahul Gandhi should be made the Congress’s leader in the Lok Sabha or not, Prasad said: “It is up to the Congress to decide as to what it wants to do with Rahul Gandhi. But I would like to offer a suggestion. There is still two years left for the UPA to complete its second innings. Make Rahul Gandhi the Prime Minister and let him prove his capabilities.”
The MP said he would raise in the House the issue of granting coal linkage to Bihar and the Centre’s “double standard” towards the state.
Prasad was felicitated by BJP workers and other leaders at the party’s state headquarters today for being made the deputy Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha. BJP state president C.P. Thakur, road construction minister Nand Kishore Yadav and the party’s deputy chief whip in the Assembly Arun Kumar Sinha were present on the occasion among others.