Break your silence, opposition tells PM

Thursday, November 18, 2010

NEW DELHI - Silence equalled consent, opposition leaders said Tuesday as they demanded a clarification from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the 2G spectrum scam and former minister A. Raja.

The opposition mounted pressure with various leaders speaking out on the issue on a day when the Supreme Court asked the government to file an affidavit on the issue and parliament was again adjourned.

“Now even the Supreme Court has asked the prime minister to file an affidavit on why it was silent on the 2G scam. In the history of independent India it has never happened that the Supreme Court has had to question the prime minister,” Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told reporters outside parliament.

“Raja said he had sought the prime minister’s permission for everything he did. It makes him (prime minister) equally responsible, he must come out with a clarification,” he said.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) MP Brinda Karat agreed.

“It is embarrassing that for the first time in the history of India, the Supreme Court has had to take the name of the prime minister and ask why he was silent. It’s unfortunate. The government is compromising with corruption and scandals just to remain in power.

“The question was raised in every session of parliament in 2009 but the prime minister and his government not just remained silent but connived… the whole country wants an answer,” she added.

The AIADMK alleged that the prime minister was quiet because people at high levels were involved.

“The 2G spectrum scam is no longer limited to (A) Raja, according to newspaper reports there is a ‘maharaja’ sitting behind Raja in Chennai,” AIADMK leader V. Maitreyan told reporters, in an obvious reference to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK chief M. Karunanidhi.

The AIADMK is the main opposition party in Tamil Nadu where Raja’s party DMK leads the government. The DMK is also part of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

“Perhaps that is why the prime minister is silent and he has to face the embarrassment of getting a censure from the Supreme Court. He is silent because high and mighty people are involved in this beyond Raja… beyond this I won’t say anything,” he said.

“We demand a JPC (joint parliamentary committee) on this and we want the prime minister to come clean on this. Till the government agrees to a JPC, (there will be) no parliament,” he added.

Hearing a petition filed by Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy seeking a direction to the prime minister for sanction to prosecute Raja in connection with the 2G scam, the Supreme Court Thursday asked the government to file an affidavit on the issue by Saturday.

The bench comprising Justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly had on Tuesday had asked the government to explain why the signing authority - in this case the prime minister - remained silent for 11 months.

Raja had resigned as communications and IT minister Sunday night.

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