Confrontation between govt, opposition expected to escalate

In its first conclave in the north-east, BJP appears to be buoyed by the spectacular Assembly election victory in Bihar and the ITAT order in the Bofors pay-offs case.
The BJP has pulled out all stops to target the Congress chief and said the Bofors pay-offs trail leads "directly to the doorstep of Sonia Gandhi".

Despite the Congress claims that the BJP was flogging a dead horse on the Bofors issue, the debate at the party's national executive as well as the speeches at the NDA rally showed that the opposition was set to target the ruling party at the Centre.

The political resolution moved by Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and seconded by her counterpart in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley had yesterday attacked the Congress and its "first family" as also the UPA mentioning scams involving 2G spectrum allocation, Adarsh Housing Society and the Commonwealth Games with BJP chief Nitin Gadkari dubbing the telecom case as "mother of all scams".

Significantly, the BJP did not target any of the non-Congress parties, including the Left, in its political resolution at the meet which has come at a time when the party top brass sees an opportunity after two successive defeats in Lok Sabha polls.

In his address, Gadkari walked the extra mile to give part of the credit for the Bihar victory to the efforts of JD(U) leader and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

The manner in which Congress leaders, including party spokesman, had hit back at the BJP also suggest that the war of words between the rival sides could escalate.

Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi had said that the BJP, by raising Bofors and 2G spectrum issues, was trying to divert attention from "RSS' complicity in terrorism".

Another Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari had claimed that as the investigations grow more focussed, BJP's stridency accompanied by nervousness would increase in direct proportion as truth has an uncanny way of emerging.

"Today the RSS and the BJP need to answer the nation as to why individuals and organisations allegedly involved in terrorist activities have their support, shelter and patronage?" he had asked.

While the BJP National Executive was firm in its demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the 2G scam, BJP leaders steered clear of questions whether it meant dark clouds over the Budget Session next month after the Winter Session was washed out over the stalemate.

At its Plenary Session in Burari in Delhi last month, Congress had focussed its attack on RSS and BJP. The BJP has now hit back at the party.

In fact, the naming of the first family of the ruling party was done by the BJP after some resistance by a section of the top brass.

A section of the BJP, including Jaitley and Swaraj had suggested that it was not a good idea to name the Congress President as it could open possibility of personal attacks in Parliament.

However, party sources said former party chief Rajnath Singh felt that since the BJP was already attacking the Congress leadership on corruption, it would lose sheen if Sonia was not named.

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