Jaitley talks tough, shows Sushma not in sync with party line

The differences between Arun Jaitley and his colleague Sushma Swaraj on CVC controversy once again came to the fore with the Leader of Opposition in RS expressing "complete dissatisfaction" with PM`s response on the issue.

Updated: Mar 08, 2011, 23:04 PM IST

New Delhi: The differences between BJP
leader Arun Jaitley and his colleague Sushma Swaraj on CVC
controversy once again came to the fore on Tuesday with the Leader
of Opposition in Rajya Sabha expressing "complete
dissatisfaction" with Prime Minister`s response on the issue.

While Swaraj, who is Leader of the Opposition in Lok
Sabha, had said that the matter should rest after Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh accepted that appointment of PJ
Thomas as Central Vigilance Commissioner was "an error of
judgement", Jaitley and other BJP members maintained that PM
needs to explain whether "he was misled or allowed himself to
be misled".

After Singh stated the same facts in Rajya Sabha as he
did in the Lok Sabha on Friday, the BJP made it clear that it
was not content with Singh merely accepting responsibility and
said the accountability for the decision lay with him.

"We are completely dissatisfied with the reply of the
Prime Minister. There is someone he is trying to shield. This
someone appears to be very important for him. He could smuggle
the name (of Thomas) in. He could mislead the Prime Minister
on pendency of charges against him. But still the PM is not
willing to name him," Jaitley said.

In the Rajya Sabha, BJP members had insisted after the
Prime Minister answered queries raised by Jaitley, CPM member
Sitaram Yechury and CPI`s D Raja that Singh should explain
further the issue of accountability for appointing Thomas,
against whom the Palmolein import case is pending.

"Obviously, the Prime Minister did not prepare the
list (of candidates for the CVC`s post). Then who did?"
Jaitley said.

Swaraj appears to have been isolated within her party
on this issue. The argument put forth by some BJP leaders that
she could not pose queries to the Prime Minister as there is
no such provision in the Lok Sabha seems to have convinced

Leaders within her party maintained that she could
have spoken her mind outside Parliament.

BJP Chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad also
differed from Swaraj on the issue, maintaining that the Prime
Minister merely accepting his responsbility was not enough.

"We had asked the Prime Minister to introspect on the
CVC issue.... He has accepted that it was an error of
judgement. He has also said his Minister of State had not
presented all the facts," BJP Chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar
Prasad told reporters in Parliament House complex.

Asked if the main opposition wanted that those
responsible should be brought to book, Prasad said, "We have
already said that accountability should be fixed. He (PM) has
accepted his accountability."

Another party spokesperson Tarun Vijay described
Singh`s statement in Parliament as "pathetic and naive".

"Perhaps, the Prime Minister was trying to gain
sympathy on the issue.... But he could not answer why only
one name was suggested by him," Vijay said.

He insisted that the Prime Minister accepting that he
was not aware of all the facts does not absolve him.

"Is this the way the Prime Minister`s Office is being
run?" Vijay said.

Both the spokespersons are Rajya Sabha members.
"I appreciate the statement of the Prime Minister
owning responsibility for the appointment of CVC which has
been quashed by Supreme Court. I think this is enough. Let
matters rest at this and we move forward," Swaraj had said on
Twitter on March 4.

However, the next day she sought to downplay the
divergent views expressed by her and the party after the Prime
Minister owned responsibility for the CVC fiasco, saying there
was "no difference" of opinion and blamed limitations of words
in twitter for it.

"There is no difference within the party and between me
and (Arun) Jaitley on the issue. The demands he (Jaitley)
made, the Prime Minister had already spoken about it that he
(Singh) will give a statement in Parliament.

"That is why I did not put it on the twitter... There
is a constraint in twitter that you have to say things in 140
characters. So I did not put it on twitter," she had told
reporters on March 5.