Under fire over the Lalit Modi episode, a determined BJP stuck to its defence of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.
Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday met Ms. Raje in Jaipur after which he gave her a clean chit supporting both the CM and her son Dushyant Singh. “Vasundhara ji legally, logically, ethically is completely correct. There is no fault of hers anywhere…the party stands with her entirely,” he said.
Mr. Gadkari’s defence of Ms. Raje is significant because he is a former BJP president and close to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. While the RSS and the BJP had jumped to Ms. Swaraj’s defence, the party’s high command had been slow in defending Ms. Raje, throwing its weight behind her two days after allegations against her were made public.
Meanwhile, launching a frontal attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress said his silence seemed to suggest that the alleged quid pro quo between Lalit Modi and senior BJP leaders “unfolded under his supervision.”
The party, which alleged that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s statement in Washington was an attempt to jeopardise the Enforcement Directorate investigation against the former IPL Commissioner, is now planning to target the PM in the manner in which the BJP had criticised Dr. Manmohan Singh for his silence on the 2G scam during the UPA-II regime.
A Congress source said the party is working on building up momentum on the PM’s silence leading to the monsoon session of Parliament. “It could well be a washout at least in the Rajya Sabha,” he said. The Upper House has some crucial bills pending and the government has a lengthy legislative agenda for the upcoming session.
“The Prime Minister’s silence suggests that the scandal unfolded under his supervision,” Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said. “The way the names of new leaders are coming up every day, it is better for the PM to take action before his name crops up and people have lost complete faith in what he says,” Mr. Azad added.
‘Cover-up bid’ He said that Mr. Jaitley’s statement that the transaction between Mr. Dushyant Singh, a BJP MP, and Mr. Modi was merely a commercial transaction between two individuals would influence the ED. “The statement is a clear-cut cover-up,” Mr. Azad said. “If the Finance Minister, who is the supervising Minister for ED, says a transaction through ill-gotten money is valid, the ED won’t be able to investigate it.”
|1||Mr. Modi alleged that Mr. Jaitley had control over the BCCI for decades and had continued to stick by his “oldest friend” — former Board president N. Srinivasan — even after the media and the court found him guilty. >Read more|
|2||A report in the Sunday Times said Mr. Modi had used the names of Prince of Wales Charles and Duke of York Prince Andrew in support of his claim for a travel permit. >Read more|
|3||Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria admitted that he had met Mr. Modi in London last year, but clarified that he had asked him to return to Mumbai and lodge a case in connection with underworld threats to his life. >Read more|
|4||Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis asked Mr. Maria to “provide information officially to the government as to what he has said in the media”. >Read more|
|5||Mr. Modi had dismissed allegations levelled against him in the controversy, saying that he was being targeted as part of a political conspiracy aimed at destabilising the Narendra Modi government. >Read more|
|6||Mr. Modi's counsel Mehmood Abdi accused former UPA Ministers Salman Khursheed, P. Chidambaram and Shashi Tharoor of being behind the current controversy.|
|7||BJP MP Kirti Azad, hinting at a feud within the party on Twitter, referred to a party insider playing a role in leaking information about Ms. Swaraj’s recommendation and her family’s association with Mr. Modi. >Read more|
|8||The U.K. said it will not probe into the allegations against Labour party MP Keith Vaz. The Commissioner for Standards examined a complaint of conflict-of-interest and dismissed it for lack of sufficient evidence. >Read more|
|9||The Union government and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh came out in full support of Ms. Swaraj. Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah said the recommendation was made on “humanitarian” and not “moral” grounds. >Read more|
|10||Ms. Swaraj defended her decision to recommend travel documents for former Indian Premier League commissioner Lalit Modi, after taking a "humanitarian view" and asserted that she asked the British government to examine his request and follow the rules.|