Will not allow Parliament to function: Ashwani Kumar

Frank Rausan Pereira

To The PointOf late, the BJP has been embroiled in a few controversies and the most significant one of those is the ‘Lalitgate’. In the wake of the recent revelations made by former IPL chief Lalit Modi, RSTV spoke to former union minister and senior Congress leader Ashwani Kumar to find out Congress’ strategy to corner the BJP on the issue in the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament.

Here are some excerpts from the interview:

Are you happy with the BJP’s response to Lalitgate?
First, it’s not Lalitgate; it is Modigate – for the simple reason that the Prime Minister has been maintaining a deafening silence on the entire issue. It is unfortunate that when senior members of his party are being hauled up by the Opposition for reasons of impropriety and illegality, he chooses not to say a word. By silence the PM has admitted to culpability. The case against Raje is unanswerable.

Why does the Congress want the PM to respond? Even the former PM Manmohan Singh has been accused of not speaking much in the past?
Dr. Manmohan Singh certainly spoke much more clearly and louder than Mr. Modi. He might have spoken less, but whenever there was a need to speak, he spoke. He spoke on 2G, coal and many other issues. He was ready to debate any issue in Parliament. In comparison, we have not heard even a whisper from the current Prime Minister.

Several senior ministers in the government have spoken about Lalitgate, so why should the PM respond?
The Prime Minister is the head of the government. In a cabinet form of government, parliamentary accountability demands that the PM, who is the Leader of the House, comes out and explains his position. It is a constitutional, political and moral obligation on the Prime Minister.

Are the BJP and Congress working on some kind of a deal?
I don’t know about any deal. But I can tell you this – the Parliament will not function until the Congress’ legitimate demands are met. As of now, it is the resignation of Vasundhara Raje and Sushma Swaraj.

International Day of Yoga was a grand success and celebrated across the world. But Congress boycotted the event. Doesn’t the Congress want to associate itself with anything Indian?
That’s not true. We are proud of our heritage. As far as Yoga is concerned, leaders of the Congress party themselves have been practicing Yoga. Whatever is good for the health of the people, both mental and physical, certainly must be appreciated. The only point we were trying to make is – was there a need to brazenly politicise a tradition which is very much embedded in our heritage and our ancient civilizational ethos. A polarizing message was built over Yoga, which was not right.

When will Rahul Gandhi be elevated as the AlCC chief?
There are so many views on this, that if I say anything about it, I’ll just be adding another view. Let me just say that Rahul Gandhi is the leader of the Congress party and he is the future president of the Party. When he takes on the office formally is for the Congress President, Rahul Gandhi, Working Committee and the leadership to decide. I am sure that a right decision at the right time will be taken. But make no mistake, Rahul Gandhi will lead the Congress in the future and he has all the capabilities of doing so.