GHOST OF BRIBES FOR MPs RETURNS TO HAUNT GOVT
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
New Delhi, Mar 17: The ghost of bribes for MPs' votes returned to haunt the government today with the entire Opposition demanding its resignation over allegations that UPA-I purchased the support of lawmakers to survive the trial of strength at the height of crisis over Indo-US nuclear deal in 2008.
On top of several scams that had surfaced in the last few months, the government faced a torrid time in Parliament today with Opposition targeting it on the manner in which it won the vote of confidence in 2008 after the Left parties had withdrawn support to it opposing the Indo-US nuclear deal.
Both the Houses of Parliament were repeatedly rocked by uproar and adjournments by the Opposition members who demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his government saying it did not have any right to continue even for a moment as it was surviving on "political and moral sin".
The Right and and the Left combined in Parliament whenever it met during the day to launch an assault armed with the claim in a US diplomatic cable revealed by Wikileaks that an aide of former Union Minister Satish Sharma had shown to the diplomat currency chests that were part of Rs.50 crore to Rs.60 crore money collected by Congress for purchase MPs for the vote in the Lok Sabha.
The only defence that the government came out with was when Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told Parliament that a diplomat's cable enjoyed immunity and he could not not confirm or deny its contents.
"Each Lok Sabha is sovereign in its tenure. What happened in the 14th Lok Sabha cannot be judged during the tenure of the present House. Government of the day is accountable to the 15th Lok Sabha and not not to the 14th Lok Sabha.
"Whatever has happened in the 14th Lok Sabha has come to an end with the end of its tenure," the Leader of the House said but the opposition members were not not in a mood to accept his contention.
The Congress party attacked BJP and other parties for disrupting Parliament over the issue and claimed "the whole world has rejected the Wikileaks reports".
As the storm was blowing in Parliament, two key players--Satish Sharma and his supposed political aide Nachiketa Kapur--named in the cable sent to the State Department by US Charge d'Affaires Steven White on July 17, five days before the confidence vote, denied their role.
Sharma, whose name had cropped up in the JMM MPs bribery case in 1990s also, said he never had Kapur as his aide at any time ever in the past or now now and that the contents in the Wikileaks cable were "baseless".
Kapur also maintained that he never worked for Sharma, whom he knew, but denied the diplomat's claim as "malicious allegations". "I did not not meet him (diplomat)," he claimed.
Ajit Singh, chief of Rashtriya Lok Dal whose four MPs were allegedly paid Rs. 10 crore each for supporting the government, also denied the allegation. He said his three MPs had voted against the government in the trial of strength.
The BJP-led NDA and other Opposition parties like Left, SP, TDP and JD(S) made a common cause on the issue and launched a frontal attack on the Prime Minister.
"We would like the Prime Minister to come to the House and announce that he has decided to resign in the light of new revelations," NDA's Working Chairman L K Advani told a press conference flanked by leaders of the alliance.
He ruled out moving a no-confidence motion against the government saying "the people are no longer with the government".
"We will be failing in our duty if we do not affirm that this government has lost the moral authority to continue even for a single moment," Advani said.
He said the full establishment of the government and the Congress party from the right were involved in the bribery episode which has "maligned" India's democracy in the eyes of the world.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 17 Mar 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 17 Mar 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 18 Mar 2011 00:00:00 IST
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PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
New Delhi, Mar 17: The ghost of bribes for MPs' votes returned to haunt the government today with the entire Opposition demanding its resignation over allegations that UPA-I purchased the support of lawmakers More