Several speakers took potshots at senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani's Jan Chetna Yatra during a debate on the adjournment motion on black money in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
If it was Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who began his intervention with a reference to Mr. Advani's recent yatra, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad remarked that the octogenarian leader had taken the trouble to traverse the length and breadth of the country to create awareness of black money and corruption.
“I have an old relationship with Mr. Advani,” Mr. Prasad remarked in chaste Hindi as members seemed to enjoy the lighter moments. As the then Chief Minister of Bihar, Mr. Prasad had cut short Mr. Advani's Ram Rath yatra in October 1990 and put him under house arrest.
In his intervention, Mr. Mukherjee said that he would have liked to know the outcome of Mr. Advani's yatra. He wondered why Mr. Advani had undertaken the arduous journey from one end of the country to the other.
In another attack at the Opposition, Mr. Mukherjee said he did not want to “win any brownie points” and would not indulge in providing “fancy figures” on the quantum of black money stashed by Indians abroad.
Referring to declarations submitted by BJP MPs that they did not hold illegal money in foreign banks, Mr. Mukherjee said: “Nobody will say he has black money,” as amused members thumped their desks.
BJP youth wing president Anurag Thakur dwelt upon national security and wondered why even after a decade of the Parliament House attack, the convict Mohammad Afzal had not been hanged.
Union Minister for Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah (National Conference) sought to remind Mr. Thakur about the IC-814 hijack during the NDA rule and when terrorists were “escorted” by a BJP minister to Kandahar in Afghanistan. “Was India not a soft state at that time?” he asked to thumping of desks from Congress members.
Asaduddin Owaisi of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen trained his guns on the Sangh Parivar. He sought to know how much money the Sangh Parivar had collected in the name of constructing Ram temple during late 80s and early 90s. ``Where has that money gone? The RSS also got money from abroad, where has it gone,'' he said.
M. Thambidurai (AIADMK) said because of black money entire economy was being jeopardised. “It is product of corruption. It is a very serious matter,'' he said.