"Manmohan Singh and Sonia owe an explanation to nation"
Describing the 2G spectrum scam involving Rs.1,76,000 crore as the “biggest scandal ever,” Telugu Desam Party president N. Chandrababu Naidu has demanded the dismissal of Union Communications and Information Technology Minister A. Raja.
He refused to comment on AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa's offer that she would support the UPA government if it proceeded against Mr. Raja. All Mr. Naidu wanted was action against the guilty persons, and he would not like to comment on its political fallout.
Addressing a news conference, Mr. Naidu emphasised that “such unprecedented level of corruption” could only be tackled by exemplary action. The dismissal should be followed by an inquiry by the Joint Parliamentary Committee, criminal prosecution, confiscation of property under revenue recovery laws and checking of loopholes in the existing anti-corruption laws.
The TDP president blamed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and AICC president Sonia Gandhi for such “large-scale corruption” at the Centre and in Congress-ruled States such as Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra as there was “no firm demonstrative action to stamp out corruption.” Dr. Singh, though a man of integrity, was helpless and unable to proceed against his tainted colleagues as the key to governance was with Ms. Gandhi, he alleged. “Both of them owe an explanation to the nation.”
For political compulsions, a lot of lenience was shown to spare the corrupt, he said. From ‘scandals' related to the IPL, Commonwealth Games to the Adarsh Housing Society, nothing was done except seeking of resignations.
In the case of 2G spectrum, even resignation was not sought. The revenue loss was 15 times the annual budget allocation for agriculture and anti-poverty programmes, yet none in the government seemed concerned, he said.
He said he would initiate a national debate and hold talks with like-minded political parties for launching a nationwide campaign against corruption. There was no rallying point now as was the case when the former Prime Minister, V.P. Singh, took up a campaign against the Bofors deal, he said. Media too was not as proactive as it was at that time when The Hindu, through investigative journalism, exposed all those behind the Bofors by publishing all the documents.