Struggle will continue until corruption, black money are eliminated: Advani

Black money, corruption and inflation were the mainstay of BJP leader L.K. Advani's speech on the Ramlila Maidan here, where he announced on Sunday the culmination of his Jan Chetna Yatra and the beginning of a struggle against these social ills.

In proof of his party and allies' commitment to weed out corruption, Mr. Advani declared, all MPs of the NDA would, in the first week of the coming Parliament session, “solemnly declare that they do not own directly or indirectly bank accounts or assets outside India.” They would turn in their declarations to the Lok Sabha Speaker or the Rajya Sabha Chairperson, as the case may be, he said, at the conclusion of his 40-day yatra against corruption.

Cash-for-vote scam

The BJP leader said this yatra, in which he covered 7,600 km, was inspired entirely by the “shocking” indictment of those who blew the lid off the cash-for-vote scam.

Training his guns on the Manmohan Singh government, he said that for the past two years the BJP had been asking the Centre to come clean on the black money issue.

“I feel if there is corruption in the country, it is not because there is no Lokpal, but because there is no political will. This corruption is not because of the absence of laws, but because of the lack of political will.”

On the “runaway inflation” too, there was no satisfactory reply, Mr. Advani said. Not only did the government have financial and other experts in key positions, including the Planning Commission, but the Prime Minister himself was an economist, and despite their collective expertise and their announcements to curb inflation, the UPA failed to do so.

The octogenarian leader attributed the “success” of his sixth yatra to the outpouring of public anger against persisting corruption. “The support from people I had this time, I had never seen before. In Tamil Nadu, where the BJP does not have any MP, people came out in support. In Madurai, people braved rain and came out; in Kerala too, rain was no deterrent and we could gauge the people's anger.”

“Clean image no more”

Taking a dig at the Prime Minister's “clean image,” Mr. Advani said it was no longer enough, and the goodwill that the party [Congress] earned no longer exists. “ … till date I have never seen so many Ministers being removed and jailed for corruption, yet they [UPA] are unaffected. Also, these removals have been based on judicial decisions; they have not been removed by the Prime Minister.”

Mr. Advani asked why the UPA government failed to come out with the names of those who had accounts in foreign banks and stashed away illegal wealth. “We have demanded a White Paper on black money; we want to know who the three MPs are whose names are in the list that France has provided. I regret that despite repeated questioning there has been no proper answer.”

Announcing that his struggle against corruption and black money would continue until the BJP was satisfied that it had weeded out the evils, Mr. Advani compared the existing political situation in the country to “fog” which, he said, would not go away on its own but needed to be cleared away.

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