Strengthening of institutions that keep a check on corruption will be Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) poll plank for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls. Much like the Aam Aadmi Party that has made corruption the mainstay of their election campaign, the BJP on Saturday announced that if it gets the mandate to form government at the Centre, it will undo the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance's undermining of institutions like the Public Accounts Committee, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India and the Central Vigilance Commission.
The BJP said of the many transgressions that the government is guilty of; the worst has been the damage to constitutional bodies and watchdogs.
Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj said it had become the psyche and the mindset of the government to weaken institutions, which are responsible for maintaining checks and balances.
“The UPA had hostile attitude towards various established institutions. The PAC was not allowed to effectively function. The JPC on the 2G allocation scam came out with a report which damaged the credibility of the Parliamentary institution. The CAG was repeatedly attacked in the Parliament. It was this confrontationist attitude of the UPA, which resulted in the loss of certain working days of the Parliament, particularly when it came to investigating several scams in the Government,” she said.
The BJP leader said the government made comments that CVC and CAG were hindering development. “These institutions are there to keep a watch, they are doing their jobs and making such comments shows an unhealthy thinking.”
Reacting to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s comments that the Opposition did not support the passage of bills against corruption, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley said the Gandhi scion has been silent on the issues of corruption and dismissed his statements as “posturing”.
“There were several scams like the cash for votes, 2G Spectrum allocation, coal block allocation, Commonwealth Games, VVIP chopper deal, Adarsh scam...did Mr. Gandhi make any comment on any of these issues that shook the conscience of the nation. He is a late entrant to the anti-corruption crusaders bandwagon,” Mr. Jaitley said.
Pointing out that the UPA-II which was voted to power with a resounding mandate has lost its credibility, Mr. Jaitley said: “They had a great chance, but they threw it away. In 2009, the UPA won the seats on their own strength, but the government's rule has been marred by policy paralysis and lack of leadership.”
The BJP attacked the UPA government for failing to take decisions, for being unable to run Parliament, for a poor foreign policy and strained relations with neighbouring countries and soured relations with the United States and for the poor shape of economy.
“There was a non-performing government on the management of the economy. The growth rate of the country had depleted, the fiscal deficit rose to record high, the Rupee had weakened. The investment environment in the country was extremely disturbed,” the BJP leader said.
On the Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal's letter to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi asking him to clear his stand on the issue of gas pricing, Mr. Jaitley said the AAP is trying to deflect attention from its own failures. He said the AAP ran the Delhi Government for just 49 days and during that time did not raise any issues pertaining to the welfare of the common man and the betterment of the city.
Earlier, Ms. Swaraj said the BJP will reach out to people citing its “good governance” record in the five States of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh and the role that the party played as the Opposition. “We will accept whatever role that people give us in the 16th Lok Sabha,” she told mediapersons.