Come clean on govt's ties with Reliance: BJP to PM

The BJP on Wednesday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to come clean on India Against Corruption’s (IAC) charge about his government’s ties with Reliance and the reasons behind S Jaipal Reddy’s removal from the Petroleum Ministry.

Senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh issued a statement even as Kejriwal and his IAC colleagues were holding their press conference. Interestingly, Singh raised virtually the same questions — on change of Reddy’s portfolio and the alleged role of Reliance Industries in it — which were flagged by Kejriwal.

“Why has the minister in the ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas been changed? Is it any malfunction in the ministry that has persuaded Manmohan Singh to effect this change? Or is it that Jaipal Reddy was not found as a ‘convenient minister’ or is this yet another example of corporate interests taking precedence over national good?” Singh said in his statement. Singh maintained the change in Reddy’s portfolio-he has been moved to the Science and Technology Ministry in Sunday’s cabinet reshuffle- cannot be treated as “effected either for greater efficiency of the ministry or for the welfare of citizens of India or for national good” Even as IAC activists Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan alleged that Reliance group has been shown undue favours by both UPA and NDA regimes in allotting business contracts, the Congress reacted by asking them to first come clean on the sources of funding for their NGO. “It has become a fashion for IAC activists to criticise the UPA government. They are saying Mukesh Ambani (Reliance Industries chairman) is running the government. Let them first clarify who is running and funding IAC. Are some national or outside forces running IAC? Kejriwal should come clean on the sources of funding for IAC,” Congress general secretary B K Hariprasad told Deccan Herald.

Hariprasad was reacting to allegations made by IAC activists that Mukesh Ambani had been favoured by UPA and NDA governments in awarding contracts to tap gas from KG Basin at concessional rates, causing huge revenue loss to the national exchequer.
Targeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Kejriwal said: “It appears Mukesh Ambani is running the government, not the Prime Minister.”

Kejriwal also said, no matter which party is in power, Ambani calls the shots. He quipped: “Both, the Congress and the BJP, are in his pocket."

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