New Delhi,July 10: The Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi was positively gleeful as he took the Prime Minister to task over the Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh and the Lalit Modi scandal.
"I have just one question. Mr Prime Minister, what you say must carry weight. You said 'na khaoonga, na khane doonga' . Why are you allowing corruption in Rajasthan? What are you doing to bring back Lalit Modi? Why are you not acting against Shivraj Singh Chouhan," Rahul said.
"Unlike Congress and Rahul Gandhi, we are not hushing up corruption cases and nor are we searching for ways to escape from courts' scrutiny. BJP leaders have gone to the High Court and Supreme Court, seeking a CBI probe. When Congress was indulging in scams, then Gandhi was silent," BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.
But even a belligerent Hussain knows he's standing on weak ground, and defending Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is unlikely to yield any benefits.
The beleaguered chief minister had to face the ignominy of going to Delhi and not getting an audience with party chief Amit Shah or the Prime Minister. And the duo haven't uttered a public word in his defence, leaving Chouhan to assert to HT, “ Amit Shah said.
The BJP has attempted to portray the transfer of the Vyapam scam to the CBI as a badge of its integrity. The belated and stringent action by the Enforcement Directorate against former IPL chief Lalit Modi was also made to sound like the government intended to take all measures to bring him to justice.
"The Prime Minister will be expected to make a statement on Vyapam, not to speak of the many other controversies stirred up by former IPL boss Lalit Modi, including the favours shown to him by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and his business deals with Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje. The monsoon session may well be a washout for key legislation, as the opposition has smelt blood," he had noted.
An Indian Express report also points out that doesn't help the BJP that its own ministers like Uma Bharti and Babulal Gaur have criticised the probe in the Vyapam scam. While Uma Bharti had claimed she was 'scared' as the death toll in the Vyapam scam mounted, Gaur led a group of Madhya Pradesh ministers in making either insensitive or ridiculous statements in connection with the scandal which also haven't helped the BJP's cause.
No wonder then that BJP leaders are now showing signs of full-blown anxiety. Unnamed sources in the party told the Indian Express that despite the fact that the Prime Minister isn't close to Raje, Chouhan or Swaraj the "public perception'against the party and the 'loss of credibility for its leaders' would test the party as well as the government."
The Prime Minister is perhaps already aware of this and which may be the best possible explanation for his silence on Vyapam and 'Lalitgate'. The self-imposed maun vrat is perhaps his best insulation against the opposition that is only going to sharpen its attack against the BJP in the upcoming Parliament session. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's iftaar party next week is expected to see the anti-NDA parties come together to formulate their strategy against the Modi government in the monsoon session over the two scandals. One thing's for sure: there will be a lot of disruptions and almost no key legislation is likely to be passed.
Rahul Gandhi's attack may just be a precursor of what will become the theme song of a long, loud session of Parliament. But as Pavan Varma slyly reminds the reader, none of this should come as a surprise to the BJP.
"During the United Progressive Alliance's (UPA) rule, the BJP was nothing short of obstreperous inpursuing its campaign against public immorality. Entire sessions of Parliament were stalled as it took its protest both to the streets and to the highest temple of democracy. Ms. Sushma Swaraj, then Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, had said that 'not allowing Parliament to function is also a form of democracy, like any other form."
Modi can expect the upcoming parliamentary session to be painfully 'democratic' indeed.