The unease in the Congress over CBI raids at the offices of the Department of Telecommunications appears growing, and the party hopes that the embarrassment caused by the turn of events will make Communications and Information Technology Minister A. Raja to step down on his own.

For the record, the party on Monday remained non-committal on the issue, maintaining that the Congress stood for transparency in public life and “zero-tolerance” of corruption.

Asked about Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s comment that the allegations of a scam in spectrum allocation were incorrect, Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmad said: “If a statement has come from the government, then it must be based on information it has.”

Privately, Congress leaders were forthcoming, admitting that the entire episode was proving a huge embarrassment to the party.

At the same time, there is a realisation within the party that this is easier said than done given that the DMK dug in its heels during Ministry formation talks to keep Mr. Raja in the Cabinet holding charge of Communications and IT.

As for the BJP’s demand for Mr. Raja’s resignation, Mr. Ahmad said that party was forever trying to fish in troubled waters. And, to the criticism of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), he said the CPI(M) indulged in doublespeak: one standard for political opponents and the other for its own leaders as is the case with Kerala secretary of the party Pinarayi Vijayan.

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