The BJP has tied itself in knots in responding to the latest ‘revelations’ by anti-corruption activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal on the alleged favours done by the government to Reliance Industries Limited.
Ever since Mr. Kejriwal triggered a storm accusing BJP president Nitin Gadkari of taking favours from the Maharashtra government, the party has been trying its best to market the young politician as a person of dubious connections.
Curiously, both the Congress and the BJP have charged Mr. Kejriwal with working at the behest of political forces. The Congress has said several times that he is in league with the BJP and Mr. Gadkari has in recent days accused him of working on behalf of the Congress.
Ironically, the BJP, which a day earlier raised serious questions on the sources of funding of India gainst Corruption headed by Mr. Kejriwal, had little option but to endorse the charges levelled by him against the RIL.
There is no way the party could have debunked Mr. Kejriwal’s charges as its senior leader Jaswant Singh, in a statement hours before Mr. Kejriwal’s press conference, raised almost the same issues.
However, the BJP’s endorsement of Mr. Kejriwal’s allegations came with riders. Asking the government to come clean on his charges, BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy at the same time dismissed as wrong Mr. Kejriwal’s contention that the NDA government giving a contract for exploration of the KG Basin in 2003-04 was “wrong”. “It should be kept in mind that NDA gave the contract for $2.2 per unit of gas for 17 years,” Mr. Rudy said.
The BJP spokesperson also downplayed the taped conversation between corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and the former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s foster son-in-law, Ranjan Bhattacharya, which was played by Mr. Kejriwal at his press conference.
“It is a private conversation. I find no reason to refer to it and would not like to quote it,” Mr. Rudy said.