BJP skips PM’s lunch over misuse of CBI

BJP Friday skipped a customary lunch hosted by PM Manmohan Singh citing misuse of CBI.

Updated: Jul 23, 2010, 14:48 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: In a bid to step up pressure against the UPA government, the BJP leadership on Friday skipped a customary lunch hosted by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh citing misuse of CBI by the Centre for political gains.

Holding a press conference on the issue, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said, “We have decided to boycott Prime Minister`s lunch in protest against alleged misuse of CBI to corner Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah in connection with a fake encounter case.”

“A decision in this regard was taken after consultations with senior party leaders including LK Advani where it was decided that Centre’s misuse of CBI has diluted the political environment leaving no ground for us to attend PM’s lunch,” Swaraj said.

Accusing the government for using CBI to serve its political interest, Swaraj said, “Centre has classified the political parties under several categories. On one hand, it uses the central investigating agency to defend its own members like Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar etc and on the other it uses it as a tool to settle scores with the Opposition members like Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah. It also uses CBI for threatening regional parties to extract political favours on major issues.”

Speaking on his turn, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said, “The way CBI has acted against Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah is a firm indication of CBI’s misuse by Centre.”
"For the past few months, BJP has raised the issue of CBI’s misuse at various forum and generated a debate on this through the media. But the government never paid any heed to our concerns and kept using the central agency for political gains,” he stated.

Driving his point home, Jaitley said, “SP chief Mulayam Singh’s disproportionate assets case was raked up by the Centre when the Women’s Resrvation Bil was due in Rajya Sabha. Similarly, the case against UP Chief Minister Mayawati was blown fully during the Cut Motion to ensure support of her party. In both the cases, despite initial objections, the two parties later changed their stand owing to CBI pressure. This has again reaffirmed our assertions how CBI is being used for political gains.”

Jaitley further slammed the government for diluting the political environment by targeting the Opposition members to divert attention from major issues like failure of Indo-Pak talks, economic blockade in Manipur, Waren Anderson’s extradition, rising prices to save its face.

Referring to the fake encounter case in Gujarat, Jaitley said, “The case against Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah is concocted, being pursued on the basis of baseless facts. We see a “political vendetta” in CBI’s summoning of Shah. The facts with relation to the Gujarat Home Minister’s involvement in the case are politically motivated”

“It appears that CBI has become the "extended arm" of the ruling party and the timing of this case is chosen for the political convenience of the Congress party," he added.

He also slammed the Centre for putting on the backburner major scams like the 2G spectrum sale, the irregularities in the NHAI’s tender bids.

“By targeting the Opposition members and by using CBI for vote bank politics what kind of precedent is the Centre setting?” he questioned adding that no Congress leader was ever targeted in the past two decades of BJP’s rule in Gujarat.

Urging the CBI to completely detach itself from the political parties, Jaitley said, “BJP will continue its focus on issues concerning the common man like rising prices of essential commodities, petroleum products, compensation for the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy etc.”

Meanwhile, referring to the alleged involvement of a BJP MP in the murder of an RTI activist in Gujarat, Jaitley said, “The RTI activist’s death is highly condemnable and I assure you that the state government will not spare anyone. But let us wait for the inquiry to conclude and before that let us also not jump to any conclusion.”

BJP’s turning down of the lunch invitation is a setback to Prime Minister’s effort to break deadlock with the Opposition ahead of Parliament’s monsoon session starting on July 26.
The focus of the lunch was to seek the Opposition`s support on the Nuke Liability Bill, Women’s Reservation Bill, Goods and Services Tax Bill aimed at indirect tax reform in the country to be introduced in Parliament during the monsoon session that on starts July 26.

The BJP core committee met this morning to discuss strategy to deal with the increasing CBI pressure on Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah in connection with the alleged fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh.

Meanwhile, Gujarat Chief Minister, who is due to attend the National Development Council meet on Saturday, is also expected to arrive in the national capital today to meet senior party leaders.