Taking on the Bharatiya Janata Party for its allegations on coal blocks allocation, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said in Lucknow on Wednesday that the BJP was worried it would disintegrate if a UPA government was formed at the Centre a third time.
“There is no coal scam, it is only a conspiracy by the BJP to defame the UPA government,” he said.
Accusing the BJP of levelling baseless charges, the Minister said the party deliberately shied away from a debate in Parliament. “The BJP would have been exposed had the issue been debated. It does not want the truth to emerge.”
Mr. Azad accused the BJP of stalling Parliament for one month despite the government stating from day one that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the government were ready for a debate.
The Minister addressed a meeting of Congress workers at the UPCC headquarters here to clear misgivings on ‘Coalgate.’ He was accompanied by the AICC general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh, Digvijay Singh.
The Minister told reporters after the meeting that by levelling such allegations, the BJP wanted to improve its chances in the upcoming Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat Assembly elections and the Lok Sabha poll thereafter. Nowhere in the CAG report on coal blocks allocation was there any allegation against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Mr. Azad said.
“How do the Prime Minister and the Central government come into the picture when the lease agreement for allocation is finalised by the State governments and land for coal blocks is acquired by the State,” Mr. Azad asked.
He said the BJP governments in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand had opposed the auction route proposed by the UPA-I government.
The Congress also alleged that there was a clear similarity between the anti-Bofors campaign and the present one on the coal blocks allocation.
“Between 1985-1990 there was a campaign after the CAG report on Bofors against Rajiv Gandhi with foreign journals also publishing articles and there is a similar pattern to it from 2009 to the present times”, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh who is also in-charge of the party affairs in Uttar Pradesh told reporters in Lucknow.
The CAG report on Bofors could not be proved even by the non-Congress governments at the Centre and now since 2009-2012 there is a similar campaign on 2G and coal allocation, Mr. Singh said.
A pattern to the coverage in the foreign media can also be seen between these two periods, Mr. Singh said alleging that it has been BJP’s design to scream out to make a false incident into an issue.
Recalling as to how the then CAG, T N Chaturvedi went on to become a Rajya Sabha MP, Mr. Singh alleged that perhaps the present incumbent is also trying to follow in his footsteps.
Mr. Singh asserted that prime minister Manmohan Singh and UPA government believed in complete transparency.