Sharad hits out at Sonia, heaps praises on Mamata

JD-U on Monday stepped up its offensive against the Government on FDI in multi-brand retail, diesel hike and coal controversy.

New Delhi: JD-U on Monday stepped up its offensive against the Government on FDI in multi-brand retail, diesel hike and coal controversy and questioned the "delay" on the part of Congress president Sonia Gandhi in taking action against ministers and MPs in coalgate.

However, the JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav heaped lavish praise on UPA constituent Mamata Banerjee for her "tough stand" against FDI in multi-brand retail.

"She does not change her stand. Had she not put her foot down like the mighty Angad (a character in Ramayana known for his strength), FDI in mutli-brand retail would have been cleared then itself," Yadav said.

Noting that she proved herself by stalling FDI earlier, the JD-U chief asked the Left also to come forward and spell out how far they will go with the rest of the Opposition in their coordinated agitation against the government.

"I am confident that they will not go with the Government but they should announce it. Nobody other than Manmohan Singh has backed imperialism more," Yadav said in a bid to bring the arch-rivals in West Bengal politics together on the issue.

He also praised both the Samajwadi Party and the BSP, who are supporting the UPA government from outside. "SP is standing on its own strenght," he said describing Mulayam Singh Yadav as a "hardworking person".

Yadav said he is waiting for BSP supremo Mayawati to spell out her stand on September 19 and noted that "what she does impacts the whole nation".

JD-U is hopeful that a greater Opposition unity will be witnessed during the September 20 agitation against FDI and diesel hike on line of two Bharat Banhds earlier.

Yadav said he will also meet Petroleum Minister S Jaipal Reddy on oil issue and has already sought an appointment with President Pranab Mukherjee on FDI.

The JD-U chief also questioned why the Congress president is "dilly-dallying in acting against party MPS and Ministers", whose role in coal allocations has come under the scanner.

"Sonia Gandhi took action in earlier cases of corruption. I am surprised why she is taking so much time in taking action in this issue. She should not make any further delay in taking action against ministers and MPs from, whose role have come under controversy in the coal block allocation. If she wills, the resignations will happen in minutes," he said.

"I am disappointed with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He takes strict action only when something is related to market economy," Yadav alleged.

He also sought the resignations of Union Minister Subodh Kant Sahay and Congress MP Vijay Darda, whose relatives were found to have been related in some way or the other to coal block allocations to the private companies.

He indicated that he will also step up demand for the resignation of Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal but at an "appropriate time".

"There cannot be a more blatant case of loot as was witnessed in the allocation of coal blocks. Why should Sahay be allowed to continue, when the coal block allocated to the company in which his brother was represented, has been cancelled. Sahay had written to the Prime Minister to allocate coal block to the same company," Yadav alleged.

He said that there are enough grounds for the Congress to take action against Darda while on Jaiswal he said, "while one after another document is coming out against him, he goes on making prophecies of no loss in coal block allocations".

Asking Congress spokespersons "not to mislead the country with jargons", Yadav said it is increasingly becoming clear that "who looted the caravan".

He also denied reports of any rift in the NDA with Shiv Sena deciding not to participate in the September 20 agitation.

"Ganpati festival is a big occasion in Mumbai. Hence they said they will not be able to participate in it due to their engagements. Where is the rift in NDA. It is totally wrong," Yadav said.