An unrelenting BJP on Monday launched a blistering attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the ruling Congress -- after the PM had tabled a statement in Parliament amid the din -- saying that the Congress had made a huge sum (“motaa maal”) in the “Coalgate” and that the Congress, along with the UPA government, was “equally to blame for the scam”.
The BJP demanded the government to cancel all the 142 coal blocks allotted by it”. Fielding its Leaders of Opposition in Parliament, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, at a news conference held at the party headquarters, a combative BJP indicated that it was prepared for a long haul on the issue.
“Congress has got a ‘motaa maal’ (fat sum) from coal block allocation that is why this delay (in amending the laws) was caused. My charge is that huge revenue was generated but it did not go to the government but went to the Congress party,” said Sushma.
With the Opposition coming out all guns blazing on the issue, the government side was force to rely on the trio of P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal and Ambika Soni to counter the BJP onslaught.
The BJP alleged that the PM was directly responsible for the delay in amending laws relating to the auction, “with the aim of bringing financial benefit to Congress”.
“The PM’s statement today (Monday) only strengthens our charges against him and this government. If an impartial probe is conducted, the Congress will be in the dock along with the government... We reiterate our demand that the Prime Minister take moral responsibility for the loss and resign forthwith,” Sushma added.
And Jaitley said “his (PM’s) statement was an assault on Constitutional authorities. His position appears to be, if you cannot subvert Constitutional authorities, assault them. His defence of himself was a defiance of ethics in governance and polity “.
‘Lame Duck Statement’
Meanwhile, the CPM-led Left bloc dismissed the PM’s statement in the Lok Sabha saying “it was a ‘lame duck statement’ unworthy of a PM”. And the Left along with the TDP came down heavily on the PM over his statement and said that it was an “extremely defensive statement full of distorted points”.
“His statement is nothing but a laboured argument where he is blaming every one else except himself,” said CPM leader Sitaram Yechury. Demanding a “proper and thorough investigation” into the coal block allocation, the Left leaders said that all allocations must be cancelled and that the Government should go in for a re-auction.