Saturday 23 February 2019

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Politics | Lok Sabha '99

PM challenges Sonia to prove graft charge

 

Prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has challenged Congress president Sonia Gandhi to bring any evidence to prove her allegation that the prime minister’s office is involved in corruption.

At a press conference held at INS Hansa, Dabolim here before leaving for Mangalore, Vajpayee strongly reacted to Mrs Gandhi’s public allegation, calling it "irresponsible and baseless charge which I cast aside with the contempt it deserves".

"Mrs Sonia Gandhi’s remarks clearly seem to be a product of frustration over the looming defeat for her party in the coming elections", alleged the prime minister.

Stating that he has upheld the imperative of probity and transparency in the government and especially in the high places, Vajpayee pointed out that he has fought against corruption from the forefront throughout his 40 years of Parliamentary life.

"In fact it is the BJP which has been consistently campaigning for including the PMO in the ambit of the Lok Pal bill while the Congress has opposed this provision", he observed.

While once again refuting the observation that the BJP has diluted its agenda of Ram Mandir, Article 370 and common civil code, he said they have put a moratorium on them and adopted the common manifesto for the National Democratic Alliance.

However, when asked whether the BJP would bring the issues to the forefront when it forms its own party government without forming a coalition in future, Vajpayee preferred to skilfully avoid a direct reply. "Let us concentrate on today", he said.

He also made it clear that the NDA would form a coalition government even if the BJP gets clear majority to form the government. "The NDA would get clear majority", he said, flaying predictions by leaders like Sharad Pawar and Mulayam Singh Yadav that the polls would throw up a hung Parliament.

When a journalist pointed out that the Akali Dal has included implementation of Anandpur Saheb resolution in its party agenda, the prime minister clarified that it is not part of the NDA’s common manifesto, which has been accepted by the Akali Dal. "There is no separate agenda for Punjab", he added.

He also flayed the threats of boycotting elections issued in the Kashmir valley, stating that such threats did not work even last time. "However, any attempt to stop the people from going to the polling booths would be foiled", he warned.

While also denying once again that the BJP is trying to capitalise the Kargil victory to woo the electorate, the prime minister instantly shot back : "they are free to congratulate our brave jawans. Nobody has prevented them from doing so".

He however declined to comment on the issue of how Pak intruders could cross the LoC stating that the committee report is awaited. "Do you want to me to reply to that fantastic charge?’, he asked when tried to seek his reaction to the charge made by Admiral (retd) Bhagawat that it would be the last election in the country if the BJP-led government comes to power this time.  






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