Congress remark on new ministers' past irks BJP

A day after the expansion of the Union Council of Ministers, the government and the Congress were engaged in a slugfest over induction of “tainted” ministers.

The Congress dug out affidavits of the newly-appointed ministers filed during the elections in its attempts to embarrass the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. AICC general secretary Ajay Maken said Ram Shankar Katheria, the Minister of State for HRD, faced 23 criminal cases.

“Perhaps, no other MP has such a bulky criminal record,” Maken said.Training guns on new ministers, Maken claimed the Minister of State for Science and Technology Y S Chowdary had unpaid loans to the tune of Rs 317 crore. “Was Chowdary rewarded so that he could take care of his unpaid loans,” he asked.

The other ministers on the Congress target were Sadananda Gowda, Giriraj Singh and J P Nadda.Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stepped into his new role as the Information and Broadcasting Minister to defend the Narendra Modi-led NDA government from the Opposition attack.

“The charges levelled by the Congress are completely baseless,” he said, asking the opposition to debate on the quality of governance.

Jaitley contended that the cases against the ministers were a result of political agitation and not of moral turpitude as was the case with some ministers in the UPA government.

“Every BJP leader in Uttar Pradesh has cases against him filed by the Akhilesh (Samajwadi Party) government,” Jaitley said seeking to turn the tables on the Congress.

On the Congress questioning the rationale behind the Cabinet expansion, he said Modi had the “final word” on the selection of his ministerial colleagues.

“During the UPA regime, the prime minister never had the last word on Cabinet formation. In the NDA government, the prime minister has the last word and he checks up credentials and facts relating to each of his ministers,” Jatiley said.

The Congress also sought to ridicule Modi on his popular maxim of “minimum government, maximum governance”. “Where is the argument of minimum government, maximum governance? The UPA had as many ministers as the NDA has now,” Maken said.

Jaitley countered him by contending that the NDA has less number of ministers when compared to the UPA.

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