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regular-article-logo Monday, 20 May 2024

Congress slams BJP’s induction of Janardhana Reddy, says Modi-Shah normalised large-scale corruption

'Reddy too is an old customer of the BJP washing powder and needs protection from central agencies'

Sanjay K. Jha New Delhi Published 28.03.24, 05:54 AM
BJP leader BS Yediyurappa welcomes G Janardhana Reddy to the party in Bengalore on Monday

BJP leader BS Yediyurappa welcomes G Janardhana Reddy to the party in Bengalore on Monday PTI picture

The Congress on Wednesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah had normalised large-scale corruption.

The party was referring to the BJP’s induction of G. Janardhana Reddy, a Karnataka mining baron facing several corruption charges, amid an outcry over the revelations related to donations through electoral bonds.

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Though Reddy had been a minister in the B.S. Yeddyurappa government and in the BJP in the past, his decision to merge his fledgling outfit Kalyana Rajya Pragathi Paksha with the party two days ago prompted the Congress to launch a fresh attack on the Prime Minister, who loves to flaunt his self-proclaimed crusade against corruption.

Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera on Wednesday said Reddy faces around 20 cases and charges of loot worth Rs 35,000 crore.

“This is BJP’s Plan B after the Supreme Court scrapped the electoral bond scheme, calling it unconstitutional. Once the window for collecting donations through illegal means was closed, the BJP decided to forge direct partnerships with individuals from whom resources are to be taken. No secrecy, embrace them and work together. Reddy too is an old customer of the BJP washing powder and needs protection from central agencies,” Khera said.

While the Congress has always accused Modi and Shah of duplicity on corruption, insisting that they selectively target Opposition leaders and use central agencies to collect funds and consolidate themselves politically, the government has betrayed no signs of nervousness in the wake of the release of electoral bonds details. Though Modi himself has not reacted to the development, Shah reduced the entire controversy to the volume of donations, asserting that the BJP got more because it is a bigger party.

The Congress, however, has portrayed it as the biggest scam of independent India, demanding a probe by a special investigation team (SIT) monitored by the Supreme Court to look into the cases of alleged extortion, quid pro quo and money laundering through shell companies.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) too has said its top leaders, including Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, have been arrested in the liquor case without any recovery of money while the BJP received huge donations from the person who later became an approver.

Enraged by the BJP’s “audacity” to induct Bellary’s mining baron Reddy in this atmosphere, the Congress sharpened its tools to rip into Modi’s anti-corruption boast. Congress communications chief Jairam Ramesh tweeted: “India’s most corrupt politicians, down to the last man, have now been accommodated in the BJP. They are motivated by two key factors — 1. Participation: Minimum Government, Maximum Loot 2. Protection: Join the BJP, evade the ED-IT.”

Ramesh added: “As the electoral bond scam and the latest joinings in the BJP reveal, the Prime Minister and the home minister have systematically normalised large-scale corruption in India. The corporate donations the BJP gets, the state governments they attempt to topple, the mergers and acquisitions they are conducting — they are all evidence of this naked use of money power. The Prime Minister’s slogan is and has always been — ‘Chanda Jamaunga, Dhanda Karaunga, Sabko Khilaunga’ (Will take donations, allow illegal businesses and let everybody loot).”

The Congress also lapped up the comments of Parakala Prabhakar, an economist and husband of finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who described the electoral bonds as “the world’s biggest scam”. A video was circulating on social media in which Prabhakar said: “Electoral bonds have created a situation in which it is no more a BJP versus which party contest. People of India will be fighting against the BJP.”

Khera said: “Reddy is the same... person about whom a judge had said that he offered him a bribe of Rs 40 crore. The court had debarred him from entering Bellary. Today, we see his photograph standing with India’s home minister. We know how the Yeddy-Reddy gang was infamous in Karnataka. Sushma Swaraj was his original benefactor. And this man, accused of loot worth Rs 35,000 crore, says he has returned to his roots after joining the BJP. Now, you know where the roots of corruption are.”

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