Demands PM’s resignation, says he should "introspect where he is leading country"

A war of words broke out between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday over the latter’s demand for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s resignation for purported alterations made by Law Minister Ashwani Kumar to the CBI affidavit on coal blocks allocation, which was to be submitted to the Supreme Court.

Hours after Congress president Sonia Gandhi dismissed the BJP’s demand, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley maintained he was not surprised at her response and demanded that the original CBI affidavit on the status report and e-mails, reportedly sent to the premier investigating agency by the Prime Minister’s Office, be made public.

Mr. Jaitley’s deputy in the House, Ravi Shankar Prasad, said Ms. Gandhi’s reaction smacked of “arrogance.”

He termed “laughable” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath’s statement that the Law Minister had only made “grammatical corrections” in the status report.He said: “This is the first time that the CBI needed tutorship of the Law Minister. The BJP demands that the original affidavit of the status report and the report after grammatical corrections were made by the Law Minister as a tutor be made public. These should also be submitted to the Supreme Court.”

Asking the government to explain why Mr. Kumar had called the CBI Director, law officers and others to see the affidavit and modify it, Mr. Jaitley argued that it showed how the government interfered in the CBI’s functioning. “The Prime Minister should also introspect where he is leading the country,” Mr. Jaitley said, adding that though Ms. Gandhi might see Dr. Singh’s alleged role in the coal allocation case as “virtue,” the BJP felt this was nothing but a scam.

Earlier in the day, the BJP parliamentary party, which met under the chairmanship of L.K. Advani, lashed out at the draft JPC report, which, it said, painted the corrupt as honest and vice versa. “The Prime Minister’s Office and the Law Minister have blatantly interfered in the functioning of the CBI while investigating the coal blocks allocation scam. The UPA government first indulges in corruption and then subverts institutions to suppress the truth. It stands exposed before the country. The UPA government has forfeited its right to govern,” it said in a press statement.

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