Congress asks BJP to introspect on the state of affairs within the organisation

As the Bharatiya Janata Party distanced itself from the former party president, Bangaru Laxman, who was convicted in a bribery case, the Congress seized the opportunity to target the party and call it a classic case of ‘double standards.'

Under attack from the BJP in the last few days over the Bofors scandal, the Congress asked the party to introspect on the state of affairs within the organisation.

The verdict is a major embarrassment to the party, particularly at a juncture when it has launched a massive campaign against corruption during the UPA government.

Faced with a barrage of questions on the court verdict, BJP spokesperson Shah Nawaz Hussain termed it a matter of ‘personal conduct' and not a reflection on the BJP itself. He argued that Mr. Laxman had ‘sacrificed' his job immediately after the bribery charge surfaced.

However, he was evasive whether the BJP would consider action against Mr. Laxman in the light of the court verdict. “The court verdict has just come. I was not aware of it when I came to address the media.”

Mr. Laxman, who resigned from the post of party president after a sting operation by Tehelka showing him accepting money, continues to be a member of the BJP National Executive.

Mr. Hussain said Mr. Laxman would study the court verdict and would exercise all rights enshrined in the Constitution by appealing in a higher court soon.

He suggested that the UPA government had influenced the CBI to expedite the case against Mr. Laxman. “If the CBI files its closure reports as fast in other corruption cases several Ministers would be in jail.”

Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari said with one of its former presidents behind bars, the BJP has ‘created history.' “For the BJP, chickens have come to roost and unfortunately, they have come rather early. Those who raised the bogey of Bofors, a matter which been conclusively determined judiciously, should today introspect about their six years in government, and start living by the age-old adage that those who live in glass houses do not throw stones at others.”

Union Minister Kapil Sibal said: “Perhaps there is no party in the world whose president is put behind bars on such corruption charges. BJP has been making and will continue to make such history and also continue to hide.”

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