Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar on Thursday said the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre was hesitant to enact a law by which looting of public money could be prevented and the looters punished.
In an interview to The Hindu here, Mr. Sarkar said the Union government seemed to be hesitant in accepting the demands of the Gandhian Anna Hazare, who is on an indefinite fast in New Delhi demanding a tougher Lokpal Bill.
No moral right
Pointing out that the Congress had no moral right to seek votes in the ongoing elections, Mr. Sarkar said corruption had blemished the face of the nation.
“Our face was first blemished after the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Second, it was the carnage of the minorities in Gujarat. Third, the corruption under the UPA government. Look at the series of scams: Adarsh scam, Commonwealth Games scam and the 2G scam. We are being robbed, looted. The corruption in the 2G scam is [has led to a presumptive loss of] about Rs.1.76 lakh crore. I am 62-plus. I have not been able to count Rs.1 lakh so far. I can't imagine [the level of corruption],” he said.
Referring to the corruption in the conduct of the Commonwealth Games, Mr. Sarkar said the event was held in Melbourne, Australia, in 2006 at a cost of Rs. 5,400 crore.
“But in a span of four years, they [organisers in India] spent Rs. 80,000 crore. The money is coming from the people of India. The State governments are not in a position to deliver the goods for want of support from the Centre. We are asking that the Public Distribution System [PDS] be universalised. Fourteen essential items should be distributed at reasonable prices. Then they [the Centre] are saying there is no money, but are squandering money in the name of the Games,” he said.
Stating that the elections in West Bengal and Kerala were being held at a time of an unprecedented rise in the prices of essential commodities, Mr. Sarkar accused the Central government of consciously not taking steps which could help check price rise.
“They [the Centre] are doing it only for the interests of the monopoly houses and trading communities. People will benefit if the universalisation of the PDS is done without dividing the poor on the basis of the APL [above the poverty line] and BPL [below the poverty line] families. For the greater interest of four-five per cent of the monopoly houses and the trading communities, they are not taking care of the interests of 85-90 per cent of the people in the country. This is a burning issue. Everywhere this question is being asked. What is the answer of the Congress,” Mr. Sarkar asked.