‘BJP has a history of demanding resignations’

Union Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal on Sunday sought to deflect criticism of the UPA government over the cash-for-promotion scam in the Railways, arguing that “corruption is nobody’s monopoly.”

Asked about the scam at a press conference here, he said: “You’ll have paid news. Corruption is a societal problem we have to work together against.”

He addressed the media soon after Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad spoke at the BJP office here.

Mr. Sibal began by calling Madhya Pradesh a “lab of corruption.” “Every official here is corrupt. Who is not corrupt here...? The combination of crime and corruption here makes it even more dangerous. Sushmaji [leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha] is an MP from [Vidisha] in the State. She talks in Parliament of rape when her own State has the highest number of rapes.”

Madhya Pradesh has reported more than 4,500 cases of rape so far this year.

Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who joined Mr. Sibal, said continuous telecast of negative news would affect India’s investment prospects. “Report negative news but also talk about the strides we have made in education, science and other fields,” he said, listing the UPA government’s steps to provide connectivity and sanction funds for roughly 40,000 hospitals and for “schools in every village.”

“The Leader of the Opposition [Ms. Swaraj] has declared that her floor strategy is to disrupt Parliament. This party [the BJP] has a history of demanding resignationsThe public has given this [BJP] government [in Madhya Pradesh] two chances, but now they are fed up; and you will soon see their response in the elections,” Mr. Sibal said.

In his address, Mr. Prasad said that every time he visited Bhopal, the UPA government was embroiled in a new scam. “We’ll stop asking for resignations the moment the scams stop... You have turned the country into an auction place of corruption. Here, everything is up for sale. It is our duty to the people of the country to raise these issues.” Mr. Prasad led his party’s nationwide protest in the city against the UPA government in the evening.

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