NEW DELHI, August 1, 2011
Stung by his “skeletons in cupboard” remark, the BJP on Monday stepped up attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the 2G issue alleging that he was aware of the minute details in the matter and will have to answer Opposition charges in Parliament.
The BJP announced that it has decided to give notices for discussion on issues of price rise, Mumbai blasts and corruption in both Houses of Parliament under a rule that entails voting.
“The Prime Minister was involved in micromanagement of telecom policies. He was hands on as far as telecom policies are concerned,” Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley told reporters here.
Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said, “Tomorrow we want to discuss price rise in the Lok Sabha”, noting that party MP Yashwant Sinha, NDA convenor and JD(U) President Sharad Yadav and leaders of other Opposition parties would give notices for discussion.
Irked by Dr. Singh’s “Opposition also has many skeletons in its cupboard” remark, Ms. Swaraj said it was “unprovoked and ill-advised” and accused the Prime Minister of vitiating the political atmosphere ahead of the Monsoon Session.
“The Prime Minister is faced with several questions because of the recent disclosures on the allocation of 2G spectrum... He is not in a position to answer any of them. Instead of answering any questions he is attacking the Opposition,” Mr. Jaitley said.
Contending that Dr. Singh was in the know of the ‘minutest’ details on 2G allocation, he said the Prime Minister cannot keep an “arm’s length distance” from his own government.
“The Prime Minister has changed his stand several times on the 2G scandal. From an initial support to his Minister A Raja, whom he defended as following a well established policy,” Mr. Jaitley said.
Dr. Singh then pleaded ignorance about telecom matters and informed Parliament that he had trusted the judgement of his Ministers and when Raja and the then Finance Minister P. Chidambaram came with an agreed proposal, he unsuspectingly accepted the same, Mr. Jaitley said.
“Yesterday, the PMO has sought to explain Singh’s Secretary’s noting on the file, which indicated that an indifferent Prime Minister had chosen to look the other way and wanted to maintain an ‘arms length distance’ from what his government was doing,” he said.
“The PMO now rejects the ‘arms length distance’ theory and instead wants to give the impression that the Prime Minister was ‘hands on’ when it came to the allotment of spectrum,” he said.
Mr. Jaitley claimed that Mr. Raja had kept the Prime Minister informed through at least nine letters wherein he had brought to Singh’s notice that the allocation of spectrum was not by auction and that in 2008 spectrum was being allotted at 2001 prices.
Mr. Raja had also informed the Prime Minister that he had changed the basis of ‘First cum First Serve’ policy which would no longer depend on the date of application but from the date of payment of entry fee, the BJP leader said.
“These inconsistent positions adopted by the Prime Minister make his position far worse,” Mr. Jaitley said, adding that Dr. Singh has to answer a lot many questions in Parliament.