PM using phoney coalition constraints to condone corruption: Advani

Sunday, February 20, 2011

NEW DELHI - Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani Sunday charged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with being “less concerned” about corruption in his government and using “phoney coalition constraints” to condone it.

In his weekly blog, Advani said the prime minister’s interaction with editors last week was disappointing.

“The Prime Minister’s television interaction with some leading journalists last week, however, has been disappointing. It shows much less concern about corruption than it does about phoney coalition constraints,” he said.

The BJP leader said his party was “acutely conscious” of the fact that in policy matters, alliances with other parties did have a restraining effect, citing that during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime under Atal Bihari Vajapayee, Telangana state could not be created due to ally Telugu Desam Party not agreeing to it.

However, the Vajpayee government could smoothly create the new states of Uttarakhand, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand, he said.

“The BJP is acutely conscious of the fact that in policy matters, alliances with other parties do have a restraining effect. If our alliance partner TDP had been agreeable, we could have with as much ease formed Telangana also. But our coalition dharma did not permit it. But neither the Vajpayee government, nor any other NDA government in the states has ever allowed coalition dharma to become an alibi or excuse for compromising with integrity or good governance,” he said.

On the lost previous session of parliament due opposition protests, Advani said on the very first day of the winter session of the Lok Sabha, the entire opposition, led by the BJP, had decided to mainly raise three scams - the Commonwealth Games preparations, the 2G spectrum allocation, and the Adarsh Housing Society scam.

If the opposition had been allowed to have its say on the opening day, he said, the deadlock precipitated that day and which continued for the entire session may not have happened.

“Soon, most opposition parties came round to the view that unless government agreed to setting up a joint parliamentary committee to probe these scams and punish the wrong-doers, parliament would not have any other business.

“A series of meetings convened by the government and the (Lok Sabha) Speaker failed to resolve the stalemate. However, as the Budget session started approaching more meetings with the opposition made government feel that forming a JPC would be in the circumstances, a right course of action,” he added.

Advani also recalled that corruption was the catalyst for the first non-Congress government under the Janata Party to come to power at the centre in 1977 and now again, corruption seemed to be the principal catalyst for another change.

On the issue of illegal money stashed away in tax havens abroad, the BJP leader said an election law was required under which every candidate should declare he had no wealth put away overseas and for that law to empower the government to confiscate any such money traced by it.

He said Washington-based global anti-illegal money movement Global Financial Integrity’s evaluation that India’s wealth stashed away in tax havens was about Rs.2,175,000 crore.

This illegal money, if brought back to India, could make a positive impact on India’s poverty alleviation efforts, he added.

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