Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is confident that Lalit Modi controversy, which has been plaguing the incumbent BJP-led NDA government, will not impact the government business inside the Parliament. Dispelling apprehensions of disruption by the opposition the Union minister, who also doubles up as a senior BJP leader, is of view that the controversy has “no relevance” to the subject of governance.
“Some people may be of relevance to television channels, (but) they have no relevance to governance as far as the Government of India is concerned,” Arun Jaitley told the press in New Delhi.
The three week monsoon session of the Parliament is slated to begin from July 21 and the Central government is keen to push through its legislative agenda. The session will be a crucial one for the government especially in the wake of a continued stand-off with the Opposition in the Budget session over the issue of Ordinance on land Bill.
Arun Jaitley, while evading a direct response on the controversy, said the bills to amend the Land Acquisition Act and Goods and Services Tax (GST) are very crucial for development and would like to see them through successfully.
“There is a lot of importance of these Bills to the country’s economy…the government is hopeful that no political party will adopt a negative approach on the issue of development of the country,” Jaitley added.
The opposition, especially the Congress party, has been taking on Narendra Modi government ever since the controversy on Lalit Modi broke out more than two weeks ago. Senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Gulam Nabi Azad have already said that the principal opposition party will continue its opposition even on the floor of the house if the Modi-led government doesn’t act.
Congress is aggressively seeking the resignation of Union External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.
Sushma Swaraj is battling the charges of conflict of interest in this major controversy, which began with the reports of her lending help to controversial Lalit Modi.
Though Sushma Swaraj on her part admitted helping out Lalit Modi, she claimed it was on the ‘humanitarian grounds’ as he had to attend his wife’s surgery in Lisbon. At that time, Lalit Modi’s passport was revoked by the Indian authorities due to a probe over alleged corruption in popular cricket series IPL, which he headed till 2010. Since 2010 Lalit Modi has been living in UK.
Along with Union External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje too is facing a heat in Lalit Modi controversy. The latter is facing allegations of helping out Lalit Modi in his immigration to UK on conditions of secrecy from Indian authorities. Raje’s son Dushyant Singh is also under attack over the allegations of his company receiving Rs 11.63 crore in investments from Lalit Modi in 2008. Dushyant Singh is BJP Lok Sabha MP from Rajasthan.
And in the latest round of allegations, Congress party claimed that Raje and her son Dushyant along with Lalit Modi allegedly usurped Dholpur Palace, the Rajasthan government property, and converted it into a high-end private luxury hotel.
But BJP refuted with the allegations, claiming that a court order had already specified that Dushyant had the ownership rights of Dholpur Palace and therefore full rights to sell or lease it out.
(With inputs from the PTI)