Sonia defends Manmohan on 2G scam

Spectrum: Cong chief slams BJP for retaining Yeddyurappa as Karnataka CM

 Even as the Supreme Court reserved an order on a plea seeking a direction to the Prime Minister for grant of sanction to prosecute former Telecom Minister A Raja in the 2G spectrum case, Gandhi stood by Singh and described him as “a person of integrity” and completely “above board”.  “It is shameful that the person of the Prime Minister’s integrity is being targeted. Everybody knows that Prime Minister is 100 per cent above board,” Gandhi told journalists.

The Supreme Court’s observation on ‘silence’ of the PMO on Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy’s plea seeking sanctions to initiate proceedings against Raja in connection with the 2G scam prompted the BJP to target Singh with “conspiracy in silence” charge.

Gandhi said that the BJP should learn a lesson from the results of the 2009 parliamentary elections, which the Congress-led UPA won with Singh being projected as the Prime Minister of the new Government too. She recalled that the opposition had targeted Singh even then.  The BJP had to pay a heavy price for attempting to tarnish the image of the Prime Minister, she added.

The Congress president attacked the BJP for its decision to allow Yeddyurappa to continue as the Chief Minister of Karnataka, despite his alleged involvement in the land scams.

“This is a matter which the party concerned has to decide. As far as the Congress is concerned, I think all of you know and have seen how we deal with matters of corruption,” she said, when asked to react to the BJP’s decision on Yeddyurappa. She cited the instances of K Natwar Singh, Shashi Tharoor and Ashok Chavan to drive home the point that the Congress pursued a policy of zero-tolerance on the issue of corruption by its senior leaders.

Singh had been asked by the Congress high-command to resign from the office of the External Affairs Minister of the UPA-1 Government on November 7, 2005, in the wake of a controversy over his alleged involvement in a scandal in United Nations’ oil for food programme for Iraq. She referred to Shashi Tharoor, whom the party high-command asked to resign as the Minister of State for External Affairs in the wake of the Kochi Indian Premier League controversy.

Sonia  also cited the recent instance of Ashok Chavan, who was made to quit the office of Maharashtra Chief Minister for his alleged involvement in the Adarsh Housing Society scam. “As soon as the US President (Barack) Obama left, we asked him (Chavan) to resign. It was planned before, but we did not want to execute it till the US President left,” she added.

Sonia said people could now judge which of the two parties is sincere in combating corruption. “When we compare the action that our party takes with the action the other party takes, as you have mentioned the BJP in Karnataka, then I think it is for the people to judge, and I am confident that they will judge us more positively than other parties,” she said, stressing on the need to find an effective mechanism to deal with the menace of corruption.

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