Lalit Modi row National

Opposition furious at PM’s silence

‘If PM has to save his government and prestige, he should act’, says Ghulam Nabi Azad.  

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi skipping mention of the Lalit Modi scandal in his monthly radio address, or later in the day when he inaugurated an agriculture research centre at Hazaribagh, the government and the ruling party remained tight-lipped, drawing Opposition ire on Sunday.

Senior leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party have refrained from commenting on the alleged involvement of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in the scandal, since the Congress distributed copies of her signed witness statement in favour of Mr. Lalit Modi’s immigration to the U.K. The party’s spokespersons, however, have stuck to the defence that neither Ms. Raje nor External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj did anything wrong. A party general secretary, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Hindu that the BJP top leadership had asked senior leaders to refrain from reacting to charges against Ms. Raje. The party hopes to use the ambiguity to buy time and wait for the crisis to tide over.

Gadkari’s defence

Last week, after the party’s initial reluctance in defending the Rajasthan Chief Minister, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari had gone to Jaipur and given Ms. Raje and her son MP Dushyant Singh a clean chit. “Vasundhara ji legally, logically, ethically is completely correct. There is no fault of hers anywhere … the party stands with her entirely,” he had said. Three days later, the Congress released copies of her alleged witness statement.

The Congress attacked the Prime Minister for his silence over the Lalit Modi controversy, saying calls will be made for his resignation if he continues to remain silent and not take immediate action against those involved in corruption.

The CPI and the AAP too were critical of the PM for “sidestepping the issue at hand.”

The AAP will organise a protest march in New Delhi from Jantar Mantar to Parliament House to demand resignations of Ms. Swaraj, Ms. Raje and Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani. Ms. Irani is alleged to have given conflicting information in her election affidavits.

“It is in the interest of the Prime Minister to take immediate action against those involved in corruption. Otherwise nationally and internationally, it is going to haunt him wherever he goes,” Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said. “If he has to save his government and his prestige, he should act.”

Mr. Azad said the people wanted the Prime Minister to listen to what they have in mind, rather than “listen to his mann ki baat.” “The Prime Minister, who criticised Manmohan Singh for being silent, is silent now ...,” former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said at a meeting at Pudukottai in Tamil Nadu.

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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 7:54:38 AM |

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