Party has nothing to do with Reddy brothers, says S. S. Ahluwalia
On a day when two of the three Reddy brothers of Bellary – Janardhan and his brother-in-law Srinivasa — were sent to judicial custody, the Bharatiya Janata Party tied itself up in knots by defending them and distancing itself from them by turns.
Party spokesperson and the BJP's deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha S.S. Ahluwalia said: “The Bharatiya Janata Party has nothing to do with the Reddy brothers.”
He added, in response to a question on the mining lords' relationship with some big guns in the BJP, that he had “nothing more to add to what party leader Sushma Swaraj had earlier said about the Reddy brothers' relationship with senior party leaders”.
In an interview to the Outlook magazine a few months back, Ms. Swaraj had said it was not she but others in the party who had given the green signal for the induction of the Reddy brothers into the Yeddyurappa government. All questions should be directed at her counterpart in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, who was in-charge of the BJP's election campaign in the State and was present in Bangalore when discussions took place on Cabinet formation and the Reddys were inducted into the Ministry, she added.
On Monday, she once again denied shielding or protecting anyone. She accepted the challenge thrown at her by Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh, offering to cooperate with any inquiry on her links with the Reddys. “I want this probe [to] be carried out so that the truth comes out and only then I will get justice.” She challenged the government to hold any kind of probe by whomsoever it wishes, “through any agency”. She would even welcome Mr. Digvijay Singh being appointed the Prime Minister's representative on such a probe, she added.
Separately, another party spokesperson, Rajya Sabha MP Balbir Punj, talked about the party's faith in the judiciary and his confidence that the Reddys will be able to “prove their innocence”.
Both Mr. Punj and Mr. Ahluwalia also blamed the Congress party for “vendetta politics”, suggesting the Central Bureau of Investigation had been told to arrest the Reddy brothers. “This has something to do with the Congress party's domestic issues in Andhra Pradesh, where Jaganmohan Reddy [son of former A.P. Chief Minister Y.S. Reddy] is giving the Congress sleepless nights.”