Thursday, February 24, 2011

Scam potshots for Cong & BJP in LS

New Delhi, February 24, 2011

Both the ruling Congress and the Opposition BJP came in for scathing criticism over the issue of corruption in Parliament on Wednesday.

While continuing the Opposition\'s attack on the government over the 2G and Commonwealth Games scams, Janata Dal-United (JD-U) president Sharad Yadav also took potshots at external affairs minister S. M. Krishna for his speech gaffe at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Janata Dal- S chief H. D. Deve Gowda, however, proved to be an unexpected ally of the government as he took on the BJP for not taking any actions against Karnataka chief minister B. S. Yeddyurappa.

During the debate on the motion of thanks to the President\'s address, Yadav said corruption and inefficiency had increased during UPA- II regime.

Alleging that members of the government were incompetent, Yadav singled out Krishna. Pointing towards the minister, who was occupying the front bench, the JD- U leader said: \" One is sitting here. He does not know whether it is his speech or that of somebody else. See his posture, he is sitting like a great man.\" Krishna had read portions of his Portugese counterpart\'s speech at the UNSC before Indian diplomatic staff accompanying him pointed out the mistake to him.

The minister, who may not be well- versed in Hindi, did not respond. But Yadav\'s sarcastic comments drew sharp reactions from treasury benches. Congress member Sanjay Nirupam strongly protested Yadav\'s language. Karia Munda, who was in the chair, overruled the objections and said there was nothing unparliamentary.

Slamming the government over the recent spate of scams, Yadav said: \" Corruption is like opium addiction. It is not going away.\" Referring to corruption in hosting the Games, he said the government should accept the suggestion of the sacked chairman of the Organising Committee, Suresh Kalmadi, to set up a joint parliament committee to probe the scam.

As regards the 2G spectrum allocation scam, Yadav said it was unfortunate that telecom minister Kapil Sibal was contradicting the findings of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG). \"If Raja (A. Raja, Sibal\'s predecessor) has done no wrong, then why he is being interrogated,\" Yadav asked. He said Sibal was treating the nation as his legal chamber.

Congress MP Jagadambika Pal put up a strong defence of the government and hit out at the Opposition, saying their insistence on JPC to probe the 2G scam had cost the House 23 sittings and the country ` 172 crore. However, it was Deve Gowda\'s speech that drew cheers from the ruling party members.

The former Prime Minister said the 2G scam would pale in front of the land and mines scams in Karnataka. Hitting out at the BJP\'s double standards on the issue of corruption, he said: \" If corruption can be tolerated in Karnataka and Maharashtra, then why not in Delhi?\" Responding to Yeddyurappa\'s allegation that former CMs ( S. M. Krishna, Gowda and Dharam Singh) were also involved in land scams, the JD- S chief said: \" The Karnataka government has made allegations against three former chief ministers. There is a charge against me, my son and my family... Let the CBI probe. I am prepared to go to jail if the charges are proved.\"

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