BJP puts prime minister in line of fire

WikiLeaks issue: Manmohan Singh has the habit of blaming others, says Sushma Swaraj

BJP puts prime minister in line of fire

Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj told the Lok Sabha that Singh had a habit of blaming others, be it for the price rise, or the Commonwealth Games scam or in allocations of 2G telecom licences.

“It is the habit of the prime minister to blame others. If it is price rise, then  Sharad Pawar (Agriculture Minister) is responsible, if it is the 2G scam, then blame it on A Raja (former Telecom Minister) and if it is the Commonwealth Games scam, then (Suresh) Kalmadi is to be blamed,” she said. “But people are fed up with such excuses and asking why are you then holding the prime minister’s office.”

Swaraj was taking part in a debate on Manmohan Singh’s statement made in the House on March 18 on WikiLeaks’ revelations about the alleged attempts by the Congress to bribe the MPs ahead of the trust-vote on the India-US civil nuclear cooperation agreement on July 22, 2008.

“Your excuses like ‘I don't know anything’, ‘I am not aware of anything’, ‘I am under coalition compulsions’ and ‘I am not as much guilty as I am made out to be’ are not going to hold water any more,” said Swaraj, targeting the prime minister, who was on the front row of the Treasury Bench. “You are head of the government and you are answerable.”

The BJP’s move to target the prime minister is apparently intended to counter the Congress’ game-plan to bank on Manmohan Singh’s clean image to sail through the crises, which it found itself after a series of scams and the recent WikiLeaks revelations.

Swaraj on Tuesday submitted a notice to Speaker Meira Kumar seeking to move a breach of privilege motion against the prime minister for allegedly misleading the House on March 18.

Disputing Manmohan Singh’s remark that neither anyone from the Congress nor from the government had indulged in any illegal act during the 2008 trust vote, Swaraj insisted that efforts had been made to bribe the MPs to help save the UPA regime. She said Singh, who headed the government that had won the trial of strength on the House floor, had also been responsible for the wrongdoings during the trust vote. “A beneficiary of a crime is as responsible as the one who commits it,” she said.

Amid heated exchange between the treasury and opposition benches, Swaraj quoted from the parliamentary panel report on the alleged cash-for-vote scam. “The Delhi Police probe was moving at a snail’s pace. The government should not only order a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), but also include the names of those exposed by the secret cable ahead of the trust vote,” Swaraj said.

Terming as illogical the purported contention of the PM that the Congress victory in 2009 Lok Sabha elections had proved wrong the allegations of bribery in the 2008 trust vote, Swaraj said an electoral victory could not condone a wrongdoing.

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