Ambika Soni defends 'upright' Salman Khurshid



New Delhi: Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni on Saturday came to the defence of her cabinet colleague Salman Khurshid over allegations of financial bungling in a trust headed by him saying the demand for the resignation of the "upright" law minister was not fair.

Soni said the charges made against Khurshid could shatter a person and television channels were running them without having known his version.

"The charges put against him in television channels.... and his trust indeed would have a shattering effect on anybody because you haven't even heard his side of the picture," Soni told journalists here.

Soni said Khurshid had a reputation of being a "very upright law minister and a honourable political leader" whose side of the story needed to be heard once he comes back from his official tour abroad.

"Let him be back tomorrow, he will speak to you all. He is not running away, he will give you the real picture and then it is better to televise and take the story further if you feel it needs to be taken further," she told reporters.

Soni said a government cannot function if people sit on dharnas setting conditions for ministers' resignation.

"It's easy for people to level charges, but there has to be much more to it than sitting down on a strike and saying either he resigns or we will continue to sit .... I think that's not looking at the way governments function in a democracy. There is a rule of law," she said.

"You don't ask for a resignation just suo moto like that, How can a government work?," she said.

She said governments could not work under pressure and the UPA government certainly did not do so. "Today, somebody will sit (on a dharna), tomorrow I will sit, then somebody else....If you only keep asking for resignations, then how will the government work?" she said.

"You have a system of law, if you have some basic proof that something wrong has happened or corruption is there....I am myself in favour of eradicating corruption...But there is a way to do it. It cannot be done through blackmail, threats or pressure," Soni said.

Asked by a reporter whether senior leaders of Congress had been silent on the crimes against women in Congress-ruled Haryana, she said party president Sonia Gandhi had visited the state.

"Congress president herself has spent a whole day visiting people and she wanted to go even before. And she is pursuing this work. She has deputed people to take whatever she promised there.... To fulfil her promises," Soni said.

She said her party leaders had disowned the "insensitive" statements made by some leaders. Vulnerable sections and women have to be defended, Soni said.

PTI