NEW DELHI: BJP today defended HRD Minister Smriti Irani who is under attack over her statement on Rohith issue, saying the Opposition has "no ground" to move a privilege motion against her as it is based on mere "insinuation".
BJP spokesperson M J Akbar lashed out at the Congress, accusing it of "doing politics" over a tragedy and "using lies to mislead" public on the issue to divert attention from the flak it is facing after Rahul Gandhi joined the JNU protesters. "You will bring a privilege notice on insinuation in what she has stated. If one would have to bring a privilege motion on insinuation, then not even a single Congress leader would have dared to stay in Parliament," he told reporters.
BJP said Irani's statement on the issue in Parliament was based on official account that the police gave at that time. "It pains me even more that instead of grief bringing all of us together, some political parties, especially Congress, have become so cynical that they want to play politics even on tragedy.
"They are doing politics and are openly using lies of the most shocking kind in order to expand or they hope they will expand or regain their disappearing support base. There is so much in this country to do politics about. Must we also do politics about such tragedies," Akbar said.
He said it was hoped that political class and parties will work together to find a solution on the issue instead of doing politics. On the privilege issue, Akbar said, "Congress' false charge-sheet manipulates the language in an attempt to hoodwink you. They say that the HRD Minister had insinuated that Rohith Vemula was not a dalit...."
Leaders of various parties, including Congress and Janata Dal (United) MP KC Tyagi, nominated MP KTS Tulsi and CPI (M) lawmaker Mohammad Salim intend to bring a privilege motion against Irani in both the Houses over her statement on Rohith Vemula suicide case. Akbar said by "making use of lies, all this is being done to mislead the people and Parliament's time is being wasted. This has become a habit of the Congress".
He also said that Congress was now trying to run away from the issue that has cropped up and its leaders Rahul Gandhi and P Chidambaram were trying to divert attention from their statements "made in favour" of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru after seeing the public reaction.
"They have been very sharp against Rahul Gandhi going into a particular campus in order to support those who called Afzal Guru's trial by due procedure, conviction by due procedure by exhausting all the available options and remedies that are in the judicial system up to the Supreme Court in the judicial system... Rahul Gandhi went to support those who called it a judicial killing," he said.
Akbar said Irani's statement in Parliament was based on the official account and that was of the police. "In the statement given by her, she has said that the suicide note does not blame anyone. 'This was not my submission, this is what the police said', she said. If the police has stated this, she can say only that. If later other things have come out, those will also be included," Akbar said.
He said Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad has also said that the Minister has given a statement on the basis of official account. Quoting the Minister, Akbar said the HRD Minister has said "I am being condemned only because my department has written a letter. I am just doing my duty."
He said if something comes up before the Ministry, it has to act and asked Congress leaders what they would have done if such a complaint would have come to them. He also said the letter was written by a Joint Secretary in the HRD Ministry, who is neither a BJP member nor any political leader.
Akbar attacked Rahul Gandhi saying, "There is a saying in English that you shoot and scoot. You make an irresponsible statement and then disappear. A leader is so irresponsible that he makes a statement and then disappears. Rahul Gandhi can hide from Parliament but not from the public."
Akbar said the Congress refuses to accept that the Proctorial Board and the Executive Council that took the name of the student (Rohith), were nominess of UPA and Congress government. "The recommendation of the Proctorial Board, the decision of the Executive Council, for whatever action was required, all decisions were by those who were appointed by the Congress," he said.
Akbar also expressed grief over Rohith's demise and termed his suicide as "sadness beyond words".