National Campaign to expose, UPA failures and betrayals – BJP

via Press Release by Shri L K Advani published on July 24, 2008

In New Delhi on 23 July 2008

Slightly over two decades ago, a stinking corruption scandal at the highest level of the Government, first unearthed by the foreign media and subsequently investigated by several courageous journalists in the Indian media, changed the political landscape in the country. Such was the public outrage created by the revelations of huge kickbacks in the purchase of Bofors guns from Sweden that the late Shri Rajiv Gandhi, who had won a four-fifth majority for the Congress party in the Lok Sabha in 1984, was swept out of power in the parliamentary elections in 1989.

The country witnessed an even more shocking bribery scandal yesterday when the Congress-led UPA Government secured a completely illegitimate victory in the trust vote by manufacturing a slender majority in the House. Three BJP MPs — Shri Ashok Argal and Shri Faggan Singh Kulaste from Madhya Pradesh and Shri Mahavir Baghora from Rajasthan — exposed, with tell-tale evidence, of how top leaders of the Congress and Samajwadi Party conspired together to secure cross-voting and abstention of non-UPA MPs by paying them crores of rupees.

A close look at the final tally in the House shows that the Government would have certainly lost the confidence motion in the absence of cross-voting and abstentions by MPs belonging to several non-UPA parties.

So shameless were activities and public pronouncements of the top functionaries of the two parties in the run-up to the trust vote that the entire country started suspecting that the Government was up to some mischief. Indeed, in my speech in Parliament on 21 July, I had specifically referred to the corrupt means being employed by a Government which, in the name of promising nuclear power, was resorting to “horse power” to save itself. Honourable Members from several other opposition parties also accused the Government of indulging in the worst kind of horse-trading to convert its minority into majority.

The Prime Minister had asked in a tone of injured innocence: “Where is the proof?” After the incontrovertible proof that our three MPs produced in front of the Speaker, the Prime Minister has no moral right to continue in office. His is a tainted victory. After having devalued the office of the Prime Minister by allowing the misuse of several democratic institutions for highly questionable ends — which includes misuse of the CBI and the Law Ministry in the Bofors case —, Dr. Manmohan Singh now stands exposed as one who blessed the desecration of the Temple of Democracy.

I am deeply saddened by the fact that several of our own MPs became a party to the murder of democracy. The BJP has decided to expel them with immediate effect.

The BJP profusely congratulates our brave three MPs who not only resisted the temptation of crores of rupees offered by the Congress-SP combine to abstain from the vote, but chose to expose this scandal in an effective manner.

I would also like to congratulate several other MPs, belonging to both the BJP and other political parties, for defying the threats, blackmailing tactics and allurements coming from persons in very high quarters in the Government and the Congress-SP combine. They have stood by the high standards of parliamentary behavior expected from every political party.

The cash-for-votes scandal has raised serious questions about the journalistic ethic followed by the TV news channel which recorded it. The right thing for the channel to have done is to show it and let the people draw their own conclusion. Indeed, at the meeting party leaders at the Speaker’s Chamber yesterday, several opposition leaders, including Shri Vijay Kumar Malhotra of the BJP, had demanded that the tape be shown to all MPs before the trust vote was taken. After listening to the account given by our three MPs, the BJP is left with no doubt that, had the channel broadcast the tape, the Government would have been in the dock before the trust vote was taken.

Soon after our three MPs exposed the scandal inside the House, the TV channel had announced, at around 4.30 pm yesterday, that it had handed over the tape to the Speaker. We have now come to know that the tape had not been delivered to the Speaker’s office till 1.00 pm today. This raises great apprehensions in everyone’s mind about the possibility of doctoring of the tape.

The BJP demands that the Speaker immediately convene a meeting of the leaders of all parties, show the tape to them, and institute a time-bound inquiry. The outcome of this inquiry must be made known before Parliament convenes for the Monsoon Session in August.

The BJP has decided to launch a nationwide campaign to make the people aware of the illegitimacy of the UPA Government and its unsuitability to continue in office after exposure of the cash-for-votes scandal. The campaign, which will begin from Sunday (27 July), will also highlight the UPA Government’s saga of failures and betrayals – above all, its failure to control skyrocketing prices of essential commodities, to ameliorate the plight of farmers, and to effectively fight the menace of terrorism.

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