NEWDELHI: Launching a scathing attack on the UPA Government after the Supreme Court cancelled 122 telecom licences, the BJP demanded an explanation from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
In the same vein, the party said that Home Minister P Chidambaram’s continuation in the Union Cabinet “had become untenable” and argued that the UPA Government had made Delhi “a capital of crony capitalism”.
“The spectrum allocation was not the decision of one person but of the entire Cabinet in which the then Telecom Minister and Finance Minister were specially responsible,” said senior BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley in Lucknow.
He said that the government’s attention was “drawn several times towards allegations in the 2G case” but the Prime Minister “ignored the matter to save A Raja”.
“It was a collective decision, and the Prime Minister cannot shrug his responsibility. Spectrum is the property of the government and allotting it without auction in an arbitrary manner in 2008 at 2001 rates was wrong,” Jaitley said. Party chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad asked the Prime Minister to own up responsibility of 2G allocation, and demanded an answer from the Prime Minister and Congress president Sonia Gandhi. The party said the PM was aware of what was going on and had even advised the minister not to take any wrong decision.
Both Jaitley and Prasad maintained that Chidambaram’s continuation in the Cabinet had become “untenable”. “The Finance Minister is the custodian of the public exchequer. It is the prime responsibility of the Finance Minister to ensure that there is no loot of public money,” said Jaitley. “The BJP would like to ask Prime Minister Manmohan Singh: Would you now take some action against Chidambaram or would you continue to express your confidence in him in spite of so much evidence?,” Prasad asks. The party also hit out at Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal for defending the government on 2G issue.
Quit, CPM Tells Sibal
The CPM on Thursday demanded the resignation of Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal after the Supreme Court ordered the cancellation of 2G telecom licences.
Welcoming the SC judgment, the politburo (PB) said that the judgment was a strong indictment of the UPA Government and in particular the present telecom minister, who has consistently refused to cancel the licences and held that there had been no revenue loss. Sibal should resign forthwith, the PB said. “In the light of the judgment, the Prime Minister is duty bound to break his silence and answer to the country. The CPM demands that the government immediately implement the judgment.”