BJP backs its ministers; says nobody is tainted

SansadTV Bureau
File Photo ( PTI )

File Photo ( PTI )

The ruling BJP seems to have decided to throw its weight behind the prominent ministers caught in Lalit Modi controversy, at least for now. Union External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan CM Vasundhra Raje are facing allegations of helping out controversial Lalit Modi. Whereas, another Union minister Smriti Irani is caught in a row over disclosing wrong information about her educational qualifications. The opposition Congress party has demanded the resignation of all three.

But BJP-led Central government while dismissing the demands for their resignation has decided to back its ministers.

“There is nobody who is tainted please,” Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told press at the Delhi airport as he returned after 10-day official trip to the US.

Another of his senior cabinet colleague took on the Congress party while claiming that Narendra Modi government is working in the “most honest and transparent manner” and some “unhappy people” are behind the outcry over Raje’s help to Lalit Modi.

Troubles for Vasundhra Raje has only grown after the principal opposition party on Wednesday produced before the press, a set of documents purportedly carrying her signature to back Lalit Modi’s immigration application in the UK. The Rajasthan CM is facing allegations of helping out controversial Lalit Modi, former boss of the popular cricket tournament IPL, in his immigration to UK on conditions of secrecy from Indian authorities. Raje’s son Dushyant Singh is also under attack over the reports of his company receiving Rs 11.63 crore in investments from Lalit Modi in 2008. Dushyant Singh is BJP Lok Sabha MP from Rajasthan.

Continuing its aggressive pitch against Raje and demanding her ouster, Congress party is not letting the heat off the matter.

“With the latest document coming out that Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje signed an affidavit supporting the fugitive Lalit Modi, it has become untenable for Raje to continue as the Chief Minister of Rajasthan,” Pilot said.

Union External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj is also facing allegations of helping out former IPL boss Lalit Modi with his travel papers last year at the time when his passport was under revocation by the Indian authorities. The Congress party is demanding her resignation too.

The controversy has given opposition, especially the Congress party, an opening to even target Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his silence. Though on its part, Modi-led central government has said that the investigations in Lalit Modi issue will go on.

But the litany of problems for the ruling BJP has only grown with the principal opposition party seeking resignation of another prominent leader and Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani after a court in Delhi took cognisance of the petition alleging discrepancies in her affidavit submitted to the Election Commission.

The allegation in the petition goes that Smriti Irani had first furnished in 2004 Lok Sabha polls that she completed her BA degree in 1996 from the School of Correspondence, University of Delhi. But when she had filed her affidavit for Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat and also for the 2014 General Elections, she disclosed her educational qualification as Bachelor’s degree in Commerce Part-I from School of Open Learning, DU. Further the year of her ‘degree’ was 1994.

Congress party has now demanded her resignation as well. While another opposition party, AAP has demanded the Central government to take action against Irani within “72 hours”.

“The suit-boot ki sarkar stands for corruption, promotes corruption and stands for economic offenders. This is very evident. Our protests will continue from streets to the Parliament,” Congress leader Shobha Oza said while protesting outside BJP headquarters at New Delhi.

(With inputs from the PTI)