NCP, National Conference oppose inquiry into 'snoopgate'

NCP, National Conference oppose inquiry into 'snoopgate'

NCP, National Conference oppose inquiry into 'snoopgate'

The issue of snoopgate enquiry allegedly involving BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi ran into trouble today with two UPA constituents - NCP and National Conference - opposing the move to appoint a judge in the "dying hours" of the government.

Congress, however, declared that there was "no compromise" as the issue involved women of the country.

In a setback to the efforts to name a judge before May 16, when results of the Lok Sabha elections will be out, NCP and National Conference questioned the move.

"When the results of the Lok Sabha elections are due in two weeks' time, where is the need for such an enquiry," senior NCP leader and Union Minister Praful Patel told PTI.

Striking a similar note, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said if the decision to appoint could not be taken in December then it was wrong to appoint a judge five months later.

"Was talking to my dad last night and he felt the same way - setting up a commission of inquiry in the dying hours of UPA 2 is just wrong.

"If the decision to appoint a commission was taken in Dec it should have been implemented. To appoint a judge 5 months later is wrong," Omar tweeted.

Patel also said that NCP chief Sharad Pawar has talked to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier in the day to convey the party's view in the matter. NCP is the second largest constituent of the Congress-led UPA.

The statements came a day after Law Minister and Congress leader Kapil Sibal insisted that government planned to go ahead with naming a judge for the enquiry before May 16 before the results are out.

It was alleged that illegal surveillance was carried out on a young woman in Gujarat in 2009 at the  behest of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, who was the Home Minister of the state at that time.

Unfazed by the opposition from its two allies, Congress spokesperson and Mahila Congress chief Shoba Oza declared there was "no compromise" on going ahead with the probe as the matter does not involve any political party, but women of the country who constitute half of the population.

Oza, however, ducked questions whether the opposition by NCP and National Conference meant that they were "anti-women".

She insisted that no political party can decide on it and the Union cabinet has already taken a decision some time back and it was also announced.

"The issue is not a personal business of anyone. How does it matter (that a judge was not appointed so far)? There will be a commission and there will be a judge. Why there should be pressure?" she asked.

Oza also attacked BJP alleging that leaders like Arun Jaitely were "trying to threaten" judges against taking up the enquiry. The idea was floated by them that Congress was not getting judges.

She also alleged that in order to silence the family of the young architect girl, it was awarded contracts without floating tenders.

The party also came out with 10 questions to BJP including Modi, Amit Shah and Arun Jaitley on snoopgate controversy, asking them to "come clean" on the illegal surveillance of a young woman allegedly at the instance of the Gujarat Chief Minister.

"Why did Modi as also Pranlal Soni, father of the girl, not disclose the fact that Modi knew the young architect girl for close to five years, since 2005 prior to mounting of surveillance on the woman, her friends and acquaintances.

Observing that Right to Privacy is part of fundamental rights of 'Right to Life' under Article 21 of the Constitution, Congress asked whether Modi and Shah have the right to conduct surveillance on a young girl as also tap her phones, phones of her friends and acquaintances with complete impunity in a totally illegal fashion.

"Why were extensive spying operations launched on an 'oral undated request' by father of an adult girl, as is being alleged in hindsight as a mode of defence?"

Congress also termed as "shocking" the entire BJP leadership's continuous and steadfast refusal to answer the reason, purpose and motive behind spying on a young architect girl at the instance of Modi. "Whether this entire illegal surveillance and spying operation in disregard of Constitution and law not raise ethical and moral issues as to the capability, mannerism and style of of Narendra Modi?

"Can such a person be trusted to run any publicity responsibility and protect the rights and privacy of citizens including the entire women of India comprising nearly 50 per cent of its population?" Congress asked.

Union Minister Salman Khurshid, meanwhile, said NCP's considerations could be discussed as it is part of the government.

"This is something which we can discuss within the government. There can always be different points of view and at the end of the day you take a call," he said.

Defending the government's decision of appointing a judge before the election results, he said that the new government had the right to review it.

"We think you artificially cannot put a stop to normal functioning of the government. People would accuse you (the government) of paralysis (saying) look you did not even do this? The new government is coming and it has the right to review (the old government's decision)," Khurshid said.

BJP has termed it as a "vindictive" politics and an act of "desperation".

"This is vindictive politics of Congress on display and that too in desperation. They can not defeat Modi on ground and that's why they want to irritate him with such probes and everything. This is absolutely unethical.

"I must say frankly what NCP and National Conference has said is right. It's 10 days from now and election results will be announced. People have given their verdict and it is massively against the Congress and still they want to use the power till the very end," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.