‘Don't shoot messenger, address black money issue’



New Delhi: Maintaining that it is extending "moral support" to Ramdev's agitation, the BJP today termed as unfortunate the Congress' "mask has fallen off" remark and asked the ruling party to address the issue of blackmoney instead of "shooting the messenger".

The main opposition also challenged the Congress MPs and ministers to submit affidavits to Speaker of Lok Sabha and the Vice President stating that they have no foreign bank accounts.

Justifying BJP's support for Ramdev's agitation after party chief Nitin Gadkari shared the dias with the yoga guru, BJP Deputy Leader in Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad said the party has espoused the issue of return of black money stashed abroad since the 2009 general elections and L K Advani had even taken out a nation-wide yatra to press for it.

"The issue of black money in foreign banks being raised by Baba Ramdev is a matter the BJP has been raising for the last two and a half years. Our leader L K Advani had made it an issue in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had then said it is an election stunt," he said at a party briefing.

Asked if BJP is a participant in the Ramdev agitation, Prasad said his party is only extending "moral support" to the movement.

Hitting out Congress leader Janardhan Dwivedi for saying that the masks have fallen off and the real face of BJP-led NDA and Ramdev's movement have been revealed, Prasad said, "Don't shoot the messenger. Please address the issue. This statement is unfortunate and is not at all civilised."

The BJP denied that it had distanced itself from Anna Hazare's fast but is supporting Ramdev. "Arun Jaitley had shared the stage with Anna Hazare last year. If we are invited there are no issues in attending," he said, adding that there was no invitation from Hazare this year.

Enumerating reasons as to why BJP is extending support to Ramdev, Prasad said failure and ostensible lack of will on the part of the Congress-led UPA government to bring back Indian Black money stashed abroad is the primary reason.

"The very intentions of the UPA government are seriously suspect. The whole country is agitated over the issue," Prasad said.

PTI