The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BJP lashes out, demands apology

New Delhi, Nov. 22: Stung by Congress allegations that six of its ministers had “milked” public sector units, the BJP today demanded that it apologise to the nation, the President, the BJP and its ministers as the central vigilance commission had denied the accusations.

At its daily briefing, the BJP distributed photocopies of an agency report in which vigilance commissioner P. Shanker had denied the allegations against the ministers.

Raking up Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origins, the BJP said the Congress was indulging in a “spit and run” policy and “making charges like this” because it faced poll defeat in four states.

“With the central vigilance commissioner clearing all those who have been accused by the Congress, that party owes an apology to President, the entire nation, six central ministers and the BJP for giving a false memorandum to the President,” BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu said.

“This has clearly exposed the Congress’ bankruptcy and such an action does not behove a national party like the Congress,” Naidu added.

He charged the party with needlessly involving the highest constitutional authority in its politics by submitting a memorandum based on “sheer gossip and speculation”.

The BJP also decided to counter the “misinformation campaign” that the Centre had discriminated against Congress-ruled states by not releasing adequate foodgrain to tide over the drought conditions. It said lakhs of tonnes of foodgrain had been supplied to these states and it would release relevant data in a day or two.

Naidu said instead of indulging in “cheap propaganda and raking up non-issues”, the Congress “would do well to explain its own silence on the scams and the substantiated charges being made against its four state governments, specially those of Maharashtra and Karnataka on the Telgi stamp scam issue.”

In a bid to turn the tables on the Congress, Naidu said: “Jogi says that only an asli Chhattisgarhi should become the chief minister of the state thus attracting a response that only an asli Bharatiya should become Prime Minister of India.”

“In Rajasthan, Gehlot has raked up parochial feelings by charging Vasundhara Raje with being an outsider even though she has won four elections from Jhalawar and the distance between Jhalawar and Jaipur is far less than the distance between Delhi and Rome. Gehlot appears to have also forgotten that Gwalior, where Scindia was born, is in the heartland of India.”

On Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh questioning BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Uma Bharti’s educational qualifications, Naidu said Singh was again conveniently forgetting that the educational qualifications of his party’s prime ministerial candidate were yet to be known.

Quoting a report from a Rajasthan daily, Naidu said Sonia, while addressing an election rally at Karori, appealed to the people to vote for the Congress on November 20, the day Mizoram went to polls.

Poking fun, the BJP chief said her speechwriters had got mixed up and the speech meant for Mizoram was read out in Rajasthan.

“It is strange that the Congress party raises such issues which in fact embarrasses their own party president. This approach for narrow political gains will have a telling effect on prospects and future of Congress party,” Naidu said.

Targeting the Congress for corruption, he said their governments in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Maharashtra “are sitting pretty on the negative reports of the Lok Ayukta on their ministers.”

He said the Congress leaders, instead of going to the President, should have gone to Sonia and requested her to direct the two scam-riddled state governments to hand over the Rs 30,000 crore Telgi stamp scam probe to the CBI.

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