In a major embarrassment to the UPA government, two key allies — the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the National Conference (NC) — on Sunday opposed its move to name a judge to probe the snooping scandal involving BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi, ahead of May 16, the counting day
Unfazed, Congress refused to compromise on the issue, which was repeatedly raised by party vice president Rahul Gandhi during electioneering. In a phone call to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, NCP supremo and Union Minister Sharad Pawar expressed his opposition to naming the panel. NCP leader Praful Patel said, “Our party is against a commission of inquiry at this stage. Results are just about 10 days away and it is not right to appoint a judge now.”
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also opposed a probe just days ahead of the poll verdict. “Setting up a commission of inquiry in the dying hours of UPA 2 is just wrong. If the decision to appoint a commission was taken in December, it should have been implemented. To appoint a judge five months later is wrong,” he tweeted.
As expected, the BJP welcomed the stand taken by the two Congress allies, saying that even coalition partners were refusing to be part of “Congress’ politics of vendetta”. “It shows that UPA allies have found sense... This is the politics of vendetta which is the speciality of Congress. Parties do not want to get involved in it,” BJP spokesman M J Akbar said. Congress, however, ruled out any change of course since “the issue involved women of the country”. However, in a bid to play down the situation, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said the allies’ views can be discussed within the government.