New Delhi: A bitter war of words broke out between Congress and BJP over "Jayanthi tax" barb of Narendra Modi with the ruling party linking it to "festering snoopgate wound" and questioned whether the Gujarat Chief Minister was "paid" for having tainted ministers in his Cabinet.
The opposition BJP hit back saying under Jayanthi Natarajan the Environment Ministry worked as "red" ministry cherrypicking projects and asked why Congress was not "outraged" when she stalled crucial proposals for "collateral interests".
"Whenever you raise one finger on others, three fingers are on you. When the Gujarat Chief Minister talks about any tax, he should answer what tax he had been paid when he retained a minister Babu Bokhiria convicted by court.
"He should also reveal what tax he got when he had made Purushottam Das Solanki a minister, who had done a scam worth Rs 300 crores. Our minister has clarified it that he (Modi) said this only after she talked about snoopgate. Perhaps the wound of snoopgate has begun festering. Hence he is saying all this," party spokesperson Raj Babbar told reporters here.
BJP on its part defended Modi`s "Jayanthi tax" remarks against the former Environment and Forests Minister, saying there are reasons to believe that she held back projects worth thousands of crores of rupees for "collateral interests".
"Why were so many files and decisions pending? Why did the Prime Minister`s Office not do something when the projects were not been cleared? The ministry functioned as a red ministry as it did not clear files and red flagged them. The ministry was cherry picking projects,"
"There is so much outrage in Congress over Modi`s remarks on Jayanthi tax. This outrage should have been there when files were not being cleared and the minister was holding back projects," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.
She also charged that the Ministry of Environment and Forests under Natarajan had failed to strike a balance between protecting the environment and not hampering growth.
"It was expected that the ministry would ensure this balance with growth but it was performing with some collateral interests which brought down growth," Sitharaman said.
The main opposition cited media reports to say that 350 files were pending under Natarajan and the ministry was not run professionally.