NATIONAL

Sushma raises Sonia’s ‘foreign origin’ again

Sushma Swaraj

Sushma Swaraj  

Neena Vyas

NEW DELHI: Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj on Saturday once again raised the issue of Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s ‘foreign origin.’

Responding to charges made by Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi that the BJP-backed Presidential candidate, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, was serving the British police when Mahatma Gandhi gave the Quit India call in 1942, Ms. Swaraj said: “Azadi ke andolan ki baat karna Congress ko shobha nahin deta … it has accepted the leadership of a foreigner.” The Congress had lost the right to talk about the freedom struggle because it was now led by a “foreigner,” she said.

Ms. Swaraj was asked whether she wanted to raise it despite the party having lost the 2004 Lok Sabha election when it had made it one of its central campaign points. She said Ms. Gandhi was a “foreigner,” and that could not be denied. She defended Mr. Shekhawat’s frequent trips to Rajasthan using the government aircraft. “He used the government aircraft as Vice-President before June 25, not after filing his nomination papers,” she said.

She said that in the next few days Mr. Shekhawat would make a public disclosure of his assets in the interest of probity in public life and the electorate’s right to information about candidates.

She admitted that it would not be possible for him to declare his assets with the Election Commission, which had rejected the petition of Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani asking it to direct Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates to file a statement of their assets and criminal record, if any.

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