A combative Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday rejected the Opposition parties’ demand for the resignation of Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, who is embroiled in a controversy after he had asked the CBI to show him the coalgate draft affidavit meant for the Supreme Court.
In an informal interaction with journalists at Rashtrapati Bhavan after a defence investiture ceremony, Dr. Singh dismissed the demand as characteristic of the Opposition in the nine-year tenure of the UPA.
His response clearly suggests that the government is in no mood to yield to the Opposition even if it means a wash-out of the residuary budgetary session of Parliament.
For over a week now, the government and the Opposition have been at loggerheads. It began with the leakage of the controversial draft JPC report on the 2G scam and further escalated after the CBI informed the apex court that it had shown the draft report to the Law Minister on his “desire,” leading to disruption of Parliament.
Hours after the comments of Dr. Singh, the BJP reiterated its demand for the resignation of the Prime Minister. It said it would continue to seek his ouster as the government has “lost the confidence” of the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.
The Prime Minister also declined to respond to allegations that he used the Law Minister as a shield to “safeguard” himself, on the plea that the matter was sub judice. “This is not the first time in the last nine years, how many times... (They have demanded the resignation). But I would like to appeal to the Opposition that they should let Parliament function,” he said when asked about the Opposition demand.
Separately, BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said: “A lot of questions have been raised on why the BJP is demanding Dr. Singh’s resignation. Going by the sequence of events, it is clear that the government has lost the confidence of all the three — the judiciary, the executive and the judiciary.”