Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Shourie telecom sting for party

New Delhi, Feb. 14:

Arun Shourie has again proved to be the proverbial thorn in the BJP's flesh.

Just as the party's leaders were about to launch a fresh attack on the UPA on the 2G spectrum scam and the S-band row, the Rajya Sabha MP and former telecom minister said in a TV interview that BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley were uninterested in pursuing the telecom affair and insinuated that there was an ulterior motive.

While the BJP's initial response was to shrug off Shourie's barbs, party strategists got into the act belatedly and posted a copy of a speech Jaitley had made in the Rajya Sabha on July 23, 2009.

In the speech, the Rajya Sabha Opposition leader alleged that the allocation process for spectrum licences had resulted in "wrongful loss" to the government and an "unfair gain to a private party".

He said there was enough ground to probe the guilty in the case.

Shourie's comments packed more than a sting in his seemingly casual syntax and flat delivery. The interview, given days before he is to depose before the CBI on February 21, maintained he had let former CBI director Ashwini Kumar on a whistleblower willing to spill the beans on former telecom minister A. Raja.

Asked if the BJP, and especially Jaitley and Sushma, were privy to the information Shourie purportedly possessed, he said: "The BJP knows that I know." Prodded about the leaders, he said: "I don't want to talk about the BJP's internal meetings. But it is certainly my assessment that they were not interested in following it up."

Shourie went on to say that only MPs from the AIADMK went about their job seriously. While claiming he did not wish to make it a "BJP versus Shourie" issue, he added: "But it is evident. And many of these people have had these very chaps as their clients, both on (Kapil) Sibal's side and other sides."

A section of the BJP construed it as a veiled allusion to Jaitley, a lawyer who quit practising after he became an Opposition leader.

Sources recalled as early as July 2009 — when the spectrum scam started to unravel — Jaitley, Sitaram Yechury and V. Maithreyan of the AIADMK crafted a joint strategy in Parliament and spoke in a special discussion in which Shourie intervened briefly to answer Raja's claim that he had merely followed the NDA's telecom policies. "He is making himself out to be a heroic whistleblower two years after the whole thing erupted," a source said.

So far the BJP has fought shy of acting against the former journalist. Sources said there were three reasons for the Shourie go-slow: one was his propensity for being a "moo-phat (loose cannon)" without giving a thought to the political and personal impact his "disclosures" might have.

Second, sources said the BJP finally managed to put months of intra-party feuds behind and take on the UPA government with a "sense of collective purpose" without getting enmeshed in leadership issues. "The last thing we want is to open a front against Shourie because this will queer the pitch of out political battle and give the Congress a handle to chafe at us," a general secretary said.

Third, sections of the BJP and the RSS still felt that a person like Shourie was a "useful" counterpoint against the entrenched leaders. "A bit of a conscience-keeper" was how a source described him.

News From: http://www.7StarNews.com

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