Cash-for-vote: BJP asks PM, Sonia to clarify stand
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Last Updated: Saturday, November 19, 2011, 19:59
New Delhi: The BJP on Saturday felicitated its "whistleblowers" in the cash-for-vote scam to highlight the corruption issue and demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi clarify their stand on the matter.

BJP President Nitin Gadkari and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj felicitated Ashok Argal, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Bhagora, along with L K Advani's former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni and party worker Suhail Hindustani.

They had acted as "whistleblowers" in the July 2008 cash-for-vote scam by participating in a sting operation in which bribe was allegedly offered to Argal, Kulaste and Bhagora, who were sitting MPs, to buy their support in the Trust Vote.

Speaking at the programme, Gadkari said injustice had been done to these five people as they were incarcerated for days for no fault.

"The Delhi High Court has said that it could not find any prima facie evidence against them...These people were in jail even during Diwali...Why were they kept in jail? This is not somebody's fiefdom," Gadkari said.

He attacked the Prime Minister and the UPA chairperson on the cash-for-vote scam.

"19 MPs were bought and sold. Can such a Prime Minister be called honest? Can Sonia Gandhi clarify if this was done with her permission or not?" Gadkari asked.

Congress, however, challenged this contention with party spokesperson Rashid Alvi taunting the BJP saying, "The opposition party will welcome even B S Yeddyurappa who was in jail over corruption cases."

Asked to comment on BJP contention that they were whistleblowers, Alvi said, "The matter is pending with the court and the court will decide who is wrong and who is right."

The BJP whistleblowers will participate in Advani's rally here tomorrow which marks the culmination of his yatra on good governance and clean politics.

At the function here today, Swaraj said, after the whistleblowers were arrested, Advani was highly disturbed and decided to take out this yatra.

Alleging that Congress was involved in the cash-for-vote scam and was a beneficiary of the same, Gadkari said the ruling party's stand on the issue was a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

"Such a Prime Minister cannot be called honest. He should clarify whether it was carried out with his permission," Gadkari said.

BJP announced that it will take up the issue of corruption both inside Parliament in the forthcoming session as well as on the streets through protests and demonstrations.

"After what the courts have observed in this case, I hope both the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi will apologise to the nation," Gadkari said.

He maintained that BJP is proud of what the whistleblowers had done.

Swaraj said the two leaders and Hindustani were in jail for 72 days while Kulkarni had to spend 52 days in Tihar.

"Their bail is just a stop and not the final destination. We will not rest till we reach our goal... The honour being bestowed on these leaders should have been done by the government on the day they exposed the corruption," Swaraj said.


First Published: Saturday, November 19, 2011, 19:51

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