I have nothing to hide: PM

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 - 09:32

New Delhi: Seeking to counter the Opposition clamour for Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into 2G scam,
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday made an unprecedented
offer of appearing before the Parliament`s Public Accounts
Committee (PAC), saying he has "nothing to hide".

"As Prime Minister of this great country for last
six-and-a-half years, I may have made mistakes but I have
tried to serve my country to the best of my ability.

"I sincerely believe that like Caesar`s wife, the Prime
Minister should be above suspicion and it is for this reason
that I am prepared to appear before the PAC even though there
is no precedent to that effect," Singh said addressing the
Congress Plenary here on the concluding day of the two-day
conclave.

Noting that the PAC is headed by senior BJP leader Murli
Manohar Joshi, he said it has "all the powers which can be
given to a JPC and the PAC is the acknowledged watchdog of any
financial impropriety or misconduct".

No JPC probe

Rejecting the opposition demand for a JPC probe which led
to a washout of the entire Winter session of Parliament, Singh
said "government is of the considered view that in the
background of the multi-faceted action now in place, no
purpose will be served by a JPC, except to delay the
inquiry and politicise the matter".

"I wish to state categorically that I have nothing to
hide from the public at large and as a proof of my bonafides I
intend to write to the Chairman of the Public Accounts
Committee that I shall be happy to appear before the PAC, if
it chooses to ask me to do so," Singh said in his 30-minute
address amid applause from over 15,000 delegates.

In his first major response to the 2G spectrum
controversy and Parliament paralysis, the Prime Minister
attacked the BJP, saying it has been "falsely propagating"
that the UPA government is against the JPC because "we do not
want the Prime Minister to be questioned by a Parliamentary
committee, thereby implying that I have so meting to hide".

Promising that nobody found guilty in 2G allocation as
well as CWG irregularities would be spared, he said the
government was conducting a thorough probe in all aspects of
the organisation of Commonwealth Games and the 2G spectrum
allocation.

"These inquiries will be pursued vigorously and it is my
promise to you that no guilty person will be spared - whether
he is a political leader or a government official, whichever
party he may belong to and howsoever powerful he may be," he
said.

"We wanted to discuss all these issues in Parliament but
one entire session got wasted because of opposition`s
obduracy. It is difficult to comprehend that only a JPC should
probe the 2G spectrum matter," he said.

On Naxalism

In his speech, the Prime Minister dwelt on a number of
issues ranging from Naxalism to the National Food Security
Act, India`s ties with various countries including Pakistan,
terrorism, economy and agriculture as also on the party
organisation.

Describing Naxalism as a serious challenge to the
country, Singh said to face the challenge, there was need to
rise about partisan politics and the Centre and the states
have to work together.

This is the first Plenary after the deadly Maoists
attacks in Chhattisgarh where nearly 75 para military
personnel were killed.
On inflation

Turning to inflation, the Prime Minister said it
remains a cause of serious concern and the government expects
that the rate to stabilise around 5.5 per cent by next March.

Observing that the country had received good monsoon
this year and the granaries were full of wheat and rice, he
said the government was committed to put in place the National
Food Security Act and also intend to improve the Public
Distribution System.

"We want no citizen of our country to go to bed
hungry", he said.

Singh said that the government was giving finishing
touches to the Rajiv Gandhi Awaas Yojana for giving property
rights to people living in slums and to make India a slum-free
country.

On food security

Elaborating on the government initiatives in social
sector like education and health, he said the government
proposed to bring bills in Parliament to set up a National
Council for Higher Education and to establish Innovation
Universities.

Similarly, attention would be paid on providing
basic health care to every citizen through programmes like the
National Rural Health Mission with focus on communicable
diseases.

On political stability

"The Congress party derives its strength from the
hard work and commitment of its ordinary workers. They
understand the aam aadmi`s difficulties and problems", he said
adding the party has played a major role in country`s journey
on the road to progress and development.

"Congress is the only party which can carry all
sections of our society and the aam aadmi in our country`s
march forward. The Congress alone can provide stability to
India. Only the Congress can secure for our country its
rightful place in the comity of nations. If the Congress is
strengthened, it will be able to strengthen our country,"
Singh said.

On corruption

Attacking the BJP for not sacking B S Yeddyurappa, he
said, "We are not like some opposition parties which insist on
retaining the tainted Chief Minister despite scandal after
scandal. Yeddyurappa is facing allegations of corruption in
land scams.

"Our approach to corruption also gets clearly
reflected in our actions. Whether at the Centre or in the
States, we have asked our Ministers and Chief Ministers to
step down merely on the basis of suspicion because we practice
and believe in principled politics," Singh said, apparently
referring to the resignation of A Raja as Telecom Minister in
the wake of the 2G scam and the resignation of Ashok Chavan as
Maharashtra Chief Minister on the Adarsh scam.

Sending a message that his government was sensitive
on the issue of corruption, he said if there were any
shortcoming in the functioning of the government, "we will
address them so that we can be more effective in our efforts
to contain corruption."

Seeking the cooperation of Congressmen in the
endeavour, Singh told them that as responsible citizens "if
you come across corrupt practices, you must make your best
effort to prevent and expose them".

Noting that Parliament is the best forum to keep a
watch on and improve the functioning of the government, he
said Parliament is at the centre of the country`s democratic
edifice.

Targeting the opposition, he wondered what kind of
politics the opposition believes in when they "do not have
faith in Parliament".
On terrorism

Turning to the issue of terrorism, he said after his
government came to power again in the last elections, it has
endeavoured its best to strengthen natinoal security in the
wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

"Since the Mumbai 2008 attack, terrorist activities
have come down. However, the Pune bomb blast in last February
and the recent incident in Varanasi remind us of the need to
constantly remain on our guard", he said, adding the "fight
against terrorism is a long one and we are fully prepared for
it".

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 - 09:32

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