Rejecting opposition demands for Sushma Swaraj’s resignation, the government, the BJP as well as the RSS on Sunday defended the External Affairs Minister over the Lalit Modi travel documents issue, asserting that she had done no wrong and only acted on “humanitarian” grounds.
“We want to make it clear that whatever she has done is right. We justify it and the government completely stands by her,” Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the controversy.
Ms. Swaraj also reportedly talked to the Prime Minister.
Mr. Singh’s comment came after reports that Ms. Swaraj had written to British lawmaker Keith Vaz to recommend travel documents for Mr. Lalit Modi, scam-tainted former IPL commissioner, for visiting Portugal. Ms. Swaraj said she had written to Mr. Vaz on “humanitarian grounds” after Mr. Lalit Modi said his wife was ill.
The Union Home Minister said Ms. Swaraj told Mr. Vaz to do only what was “allowed” as per the rules and regulations of the U.K.
He said “any person with humanitarian approach” should do the same as Mr. Lalit Modi had said that his wife was suffering from cancer and he needed travel documents to visit her in Portugal.
When referred to opposition demands for her resignation, the Home Minister said, “I don’t agree.“
BJP chief Amit Shah also strongly defended Ms. Swaraj, saying she had acted in a “humanitarian” manner and “no big moral” issue was involved.
Decrying “uproar” over the issue, he said attempts to gain “political mileage will not yield any results” as he attacked opposition Congress by referring to the Bofors scam and Union Carbide controversies.
“Sushmaji has herself clarified. The matter is clear. Lalit Modi had said his wife is suffering from cancer and sought help. She (Swaraj) said if British rules permit, then he should be helped. There is no need for any uproar. There is no issue of moral grounds,” Mr. Shah said, virtually rejecting opposition demands for her resignation.
He said it was an Indian helping an Indian.
Hitting back at the Congress, the BJP chief said this matter was different from making Bofors scam accused Ottavio Quattrocchi “flee” from India or allowing Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson to “leave” the country.
RSS leader Indresh Kumar also defended Ms. Swaraj, saying whatever she might have done would have been guided by her “humane” nature and “nationalistic” spirit.
“Sushmaji is full of nationalism and humane nature. Whatever she might have done, would be guided by nationalism and humane nature,” he said.