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Updated: March 24, 2011 08:09 IST

No cash was given for votes: Manmohan

J. Balaji
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh listens to Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K.Advani at the Parliament House in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: R. V. Moorthy
The Hindu
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh listens to Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K.Advani at the Parliament House in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: R. V. Moorthy

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday reiterated that no one from the Congress or the government had indulged in any unlawful act as alleged in a U.S. Embassy cable published in The Hindu on March 17.

“I would like to make it clear once again that none from the Congress party or the government indulged in any such unlawful act during the trust vote in 2008. We have not been involved in any such transaction and we have not authorised any one to indulge in such transactions,” he said in both Houses of Parliament, while replying to a short-duration discussion on the WikiLeaks report.

Refusing to entertain the cable's charge of a Congress politician showing two chests of bribe money to a U.S. Embassy staffer, Dr. Singh devoted a substantive portion of his reply to an attack on the Opposition benches, particularly the BJP.

Targeting senior BJP leader L.K. Advani, he said: “Advaniji believes that becoming the Prime Minister was his birthright and therefore, he has never forgiven me...All I can say to Advaniji is that people of India have voted us to power in free and fair elections. Please wait for another three-and-a-half years.”

This was not the first time in his parliamentary career that he was facing an Opposition onslaught of this type. “I have had to go through that as Finance Minister and as the Prime Minister. The main Opposition party, right from 2004, adopted the attitude that we are a usurper.”

On the WikiLeaks cables, he said it was not possible for the government to confirm the veracity or the contents of such communication. “If they exist, they would be communications from U.S. diplomats stationed in Delhi to their government in Washington. It is not open to us to enquire from either of the two regarding the communications they exchanged among themselves.” Many persons referred to in those communications had strongly denied their veracity, he said.

On the report of the V. Kishore Chandra Deo committee, set up by the 14th Lok Sabha to go into the allegations of some BJP MPs that they were offered money to cross-vote in the confidence motion, Dr. Singh said the Committee had concluded that there was insufficient evidence to conclude “bribery” had taken place. “I am convinced that taking the report as a whole, this is a correct inference.” The Opposition had earlier accused him of distorting the contents of the report.

To buttress his argument, Dr. Singh read out the statement of then Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, who, while introducing the Committee's report in the House on December 16, 2008, had said: “…material on record does not conclusively prove that the money contained in the bag, which was eventually displayed in the House, was actually sent by the persons who were alleged to have sent it for the purpose of winning over Shri Ashok Argal, Shri Faggan Singh Kulaste and Shri Mahavir Bhagora to vote in favour of the Motion of Confidence. The Committee have, however, found the evidence given before the Committee by three persons involved in this episode as unconvincing, and the Committee have suggested that their role in the matter needs to be investigated by investigating agencies.”

Later the matter pertaining to the three MPs was referred to the Union Home Ministry for appropriate action. Subsequently it was sent to Delhi police for a probe which was on the job now.

The Prime Minister said he wanted to leave it to the good sense of the House to decide for itself whether the report of the Committee in any way substantiates the wild allegations levelled by some Opposition members against the government.

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Good man doesn't mean the best man for the job, It's an argument I can make anytime. It's true that we the people have given him a token to power for five more years after what happened in the first five years. According to a report partly published in this paper 40% of money sent out illegally from this country ever sent out in Independent India was between 2004-08. I only hope and wish for the media to save us over the next 3 years with proactive reporting after this display of thick skin by our PM. I only wish the best man needs to be a good man too!

from:  Pavan Peechara
Posted on: Mar 28, 2011 at 19:03 IST

If leadership is not able to recognize how corruption is crippling India(ns) and tackle the problem to its core - then, the problem India is facing today is not corruption, it is its obtuse leadership.

from:  Vamsi
Posted on: Mar 28, 2011 at 17:29 IST

THE HINDU's special correspondent's Siddharth Varadarajan's exhortation to have the 'cash for votes' in 2008 probed by the Govt. has come to a nought,(Judging from the discussion in Parliament)though cynical Indians like me , would have expected nothing more than this.(In fact, i perdicted this in my earlier comments which is still posted above. )I am amazed how Mr.Manmohan Singh can digest some of the stinging observatiions of Ms.Sushma Swaraj, like 'if you are not aware , then why are you the PM?' which should have stirred up any self-respecting man, leave alone a PM, to immediately quit his post ,owning moral responsibility. But Dr.MMS is more of a politician now, so he went about questioning the veracity of the reports,totally unruffled, bashing Mr.Advani on the way , who apart from minor indiscretions , has been known to all as a pretty clean man, especially from the corruption angle. As Siddharth pointed in one of his last lines in the above article, brushing this under carpet, will be an act of' immense political folly' , the shamless Dr.MMS and company will realise this when they come back to the people again after 3 years. I hope better wisdom prevails on the people when they queue up to the voting booths,now in some of the states like TN, West Bengal etc and later for the General elections.

from:  K.S.Ranganathan
Posted on: Mar 26, 2011 at 05:30 IST

PM has nothing to say, just he is telling we are not involved in such type of stuff.

from:  Abhash Mishra
Posted on: Mar 24, 2011 at 12:30 IST

It is possible that L K Advani might have aspired to become PM. But how can MM Singh, brand it as birth right? That way the constitution provides for every citizen of India to become PM, under certain conditions and so all have that birth right.
Instead of answering the issue, MM Singh has resorted to very cheap accusations. His tarnished image is damaged further beyond repairs. It is a great tragedy!

from:  SARANATHAN
Posted on: Mar 24, 2011 at 10:43 IST

By his childish comment, Manmohan Singh has lowered the prestige of his Office. What if Advani is aspiring to become the PM? The real issue is corruption in the Indian polity. If he is so confident, let him order for a CBI inquiry into this whole episode.

from:  B.Vaidyanathan
Posted on: Mar 24, 2011 at 10:42 IST

Mr. Prime Minister we don't expect this comment [Advaniji believes that becoming the Prime Minister was his birthright] from you. Mr. Advani is at least elected and not selected member. Please come up with sincere statements which upholds your chair.

from:  Sumesh R
Posted on: Mar 24, 2011 at 09:20 IST

It was disappointing and even sad to find the Prime Minister instead of effectively replying to the opposition charges to have been offensive to a very senior leader of the opposition, Mr. Advani. What is wrong if Mr. Advani is setting his sights on the PM’s position. He is equally and also a better candidate with a larger mass contact than the erudite PM is.
As for the subject matter of the debate, open resort to corruption through bribing the parliamentarians, UPAs behaviour is like terming the new moon as a full moon.

from:  s subramanyan
Posted on: Mar 24, 2011 at 09:03 IST

Truth will never come out. Powerful interests are behind the scenes, in the vote-for-scam. The PM has betrayed the trust reposed in him by the nation. Half-truths,evasion, equivocations, and technicalities, are the handy weapons by which PM has helped himself to cover-up the truth. His famous "zero tolerance of corruption" is an empty rhetoric to fool the people

from:  G.Naryanaswamy
Posted on: Mar 24, 2011 at 08:31 IST

Please! For heaven's sake, can someone from the Indian media consider posting transcripts of these important speeches.

from:  Vulcan
Posted on: Mar 24, 2011 at 05:48 IST

The very first time it made feel that prime minister is not scapegoat for this government but he's is part of it. Can any one justify that winning election is erosion of all wrong doing. Even a ordinary citizen can answer negative but Manmohan Singh finds it otherwise. I won't say that opposition is all clean but this government is not only corrupt , they are justifying corruption without taking strong steps. These Congressmen kept the large section of people in disguise and in dark in the name of Gandhi family. They think that we the citizen of india are fools. We don't understand anything. To a great extent I would blame educated and well-to-do one too for not bothering to vote and teach the fruit of democracy to its people. I wish someone like Nitish Kumar should lead the country for the betterment of country.
Jai Hind.

from:  Avinash Kumar
Posted on: Mar 24, 2011 at 04:56 IST

I think the issue at stake was corruption. I think by launching a personal attack on Advani MMS stooped to very low standards even though those are OK with the standards of his party. His personal attack on Advani may have won him a few applauds and laughter, but then did he reply to the core question of corruption, his own governance and over all state of affairs. Though this PM has never directly faced electorate and so cannot be called people's PM.

from:  Prasanna
Posted on: Mar 24, 2011 at 01:54 IST

Dr Singh is right. Advaniji has to get himself and his party to the all inclusive center and give up divisive communal politics of partition of more than sixty three years. It is time for the parties to reflect on their doings (and undoings) and chart an all inclusive course appropriate for 21st century India. It is difficult for old perceptions to change especially when the party leaders are unwilling to give up outdated communal agendas.Our leaders made a monumental mistake with the Brits. They should have asked them to leave first instead of dividing and leaving. This would have given our new leaders time to think things through carefully for the best course of action. It is possible they may have decided against partition with an inclusive leadersship role for all.

from:  Y. Raghunathan
Posted on: Mar 24, 2011 at 01:19 IST

Instead of addressing the charges levelled against his government, Dr. Singh has yet again resorted to sidestepping the issue and attempts to feign an excuse by attacking the opposition. It is also ironic and not so amusing that the Prime Minister fails to level the charges of 'assumed birthright to become PM' among the leadership of his own party.

from:  M. Vijay Venkatesh
Posted on: Mar 24, 2011 at 00:25 IST

Mr. Manmohan Singh just climbed down a few notches in my esteem. If he is blind to what happens regularly in Tamilnadu - buying of votes, very openly by many parties, he is living in a bubble. Is there any reason to believe this is not happening elsewhere in the country? Absolutely not!

from:  B S Kumar
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 23:51 IST
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