good for the goose ain't good for the gander.
congress is the 'national party of governance'. no, the 'natural party of misgovernance'.
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At present the Congress is condemning the BJP-led opposition for demanding the PM's resignation on issues like Coal scam, 2G spectrum etc which were one of the biggest scams ever in India, costing a staggering 1.76 lakh crores and 1.86 lakh crores. As against this, the Bangaru Laxman case was a simple case of Rs 1 lakh, for which he kept insisting on giving a receipt. Since the Congress is targetting the BJP now, the BJP must remind the Congress and Sonia Gandhi that they had demanded not only the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's resignation, but also the resignation of the NDA Government in March 2001, over much smaller issues like Tehelka expose. This fact can be brought out by the BJP to corner the Congress. Note how the Congress' AICC session cited the Jain Commission report and blamed DMK for Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, as late as March 2001, and allied with this same DMK in 2004 who it had accused of Rajiv's assassination, and then retracted saying "We never accused DMK of Rajiv's assassination". 3 years after bringing down the Union Government it still blamed DMK in 2001.
Sonia asks Vajpayee to quit
By Javed M. Ansari
RAJIV GANDHINAGAR (Bangalore), MARCH 17. The Congress president, Ms. Sonia Gandhi, today set the tone for the AICC session, which got under way this morning, with a focussed and hard-hitting attack on the BJP-led Government at the Centre.
Accusing it of reducing issues of national security to commerce, she said her party owed it to the nation, the jawans and the martyrs to demand the departure of the NDA Government on moral grounds.
Aware of the fast-changing political situation and conscious of not being overtaken by events, the Congress president chose not to make an elaborate speech, limiting herself to a short and pointed attack on the Government. Promising to make a detailed speech at the plenary session tomorrow, she gave ample indication of what was in store for the ruling combine.
Ms. Gandhi's speech, and the political resolution that was moved subsequently, virtually amounted to a declaration of war against the BJP-led Government, urging the rank and file to take the `Defencegate' issue to the people and expose the corrupt Government. Speaking extempore and constantly switching between English and Hindi, Ms. Gandhi accused the BJP-led Government of having not only put the nation in a embarrassing position but also betraying it. ``Yeh desh ke saath dhokha aur gaddari hai (This is a fraud against people and a betrayal of the country),'' she said.
Reiterating her party's stand on the Prime Minister's offer of a judicial inquiry, she said she saw little point in it as Mr. Vajpayee and his Government had already given the culprits a clean chit. The expose had only confirmed what the Congress knew all along - that the Government was made of corrupt and opportunistic power seekers.
That the Congress would use the opportunity to make the Government squirm was evident once again in Ms. Gandhi's speech, when she said that those who tried to indulge in character assassination of Congress leaders had been caught neck- deep in corruption. She referred to the problems faced by her mother-in- law and ``the manner in which they first character- assassinated my husband and your leader, Rajivji, and then created the situation for his assassination''.
The tone set by Ms. Gandhi in her speech was reflected in the day's proceedings, specially the political resolution which was moved by Mr. Arjun Singh. A whole section of the voluminous 31- page resolution was devoted to the current crisis.
It accused the Central Government of betraying the trust of the nation and undermining its security, called on the Prime Minister to own up his and his Government's moral responsibility and in the best traditions of democracy to tender his resignation.
The resolution gave ample indication of the party's strategy to pin down the BJP on the issue of national security, and thereby knock the bottom off its monopoly on the security plank. Describing the scandal as the worst-ever involving matters of national security, the party said it shared the anguish of the people at the rampant venality with which the establishment was riddled, extending to the echelons of the Defence Ministry and penetrating even the Prime Minister's Office.
Significantly, the party also chose to clarify its position on the question of alliances and coalition governments. It maintained that even at Pachmarhi it had spoken of the possibilities of entering into coalitions, but that position was misunderstood. Today it sought to clear the picture by stating that the party, in the changed circumstances, was prepared to enter into appropriate electoral or coalition arrangements with secular parties without compromising on its basic ideology.
The resolution was, however, categorical that there was no question of the party having any kind of understanding with communal forces or any party consorting with them. The party would play a pro-active role in restoring secular governance to the country.
Indicating its strategy for the coming Assembly elections, the resolution said in Tamil Nadu the priority was to dislodge the unholy BJP-DMK combine. There was nothing in the history of the two parties to justify the unholy and unprincipled alliance.
Describing the DMK as both corrupt and nepotistic, it said the Jain Commission had confirmed the sins of its Government, and called on the voters to do the same....
The resolution was accepted by the AICC and will be endorsed by the plenary tomorrow.
PM ready for trial of strength
NEW DELHI, MARCH 18. Going on the offensive, the Prime Minister, Mr. A.B. Vajpayee, today rejected the Opposition demand for his resignation and dared them for a trial of strength in Parliament as the Congress president, Ms. Sonia Gandhi declared a war to `liberate' the country from the `shackles of shameful corrupt and communal' NDA coalition.
As Parliament, paralysed over Tehelka expose, meets tomorrow after the weekend, the Prime Minister chose a party rally at Rawatbhatta in Rajashthan to accuse the Congress of shying away from a vote in Parliament.
``They wanted a probe and wanted resignations. After Ms. Jaya Jaitly, Mr. Bangaru Laxman and Mr. George Fernandes resigned, they said the probe is over and now the Government should resign. Without facing a trial of strength, they want a readily-cooked food. But this is not possible,'' Mr. Vajpayee said.
Sonia's comments in bad taste: BJP (2001)
By Neena Vyas
NEW DELHI, MARCH 19. The Bharatiya Janata Party today said the address of the Congress president, Ms. Sonia Gandhi, to the Congress plenary session in Bangalore was ``in bad taste'' and ``indecent.'' The party, which has been carefully building up its image as the only ``nationalist'' and ``patriotic'' force, was stung to the quick by her charge that the Vajpayee Government had committed treason.
Yeh desh ke saath dhokha aur gaddari hai (it is betrayal and treason), Ms. Gandhi had said referring to the Tehelka scandal, which revealed the depths of wheeling-dealing in defence deals to the extent that senior party leaders were prepared to make a deal with a non-existent firm for non-existent goods.
The party spokesperson, Mr. Vijay Kumar Malhotra, said the Congress was not interested in a discussion and debate in Parliament, had rejected a judicial inquiry and described it as meaningless, and did not want a trial of strength in Parliament. By making Parliament non-functional (he admitted that the BJP had also stalled Parliament for 13 days on the telecom issue during the Rao Government's tenure), the party was leading the country towards fascism.
Mr. Kailashpati Mishra, BJP vice-president, went a step further and compared the ``patriotic, home-grown Vajpayee'' to ``this foreign woman daring to call Atalji a traitor.'' The party's defence seemed to boil down to stating loudly and aggressively that no one could doubt the Prime Minister's integrity, no one could be allowed to question his patriotism and especially a ``foreign woman'' who did so could not be tolerated.
Cong. trying to grab power, says Venkaiah Naidu
By Our Special Correspondent
CHENNAI, MARCH 18. The Union Minister and BJP leader, Mr. M. Venkaiah Naidu, said today that the Congress was trying to grab power without obtaining the people's mandate.
Referring to the deliberations of the Congress meeting in Bangalore, Mr. Naidu told reporters that the party, in its ``lust for power'', had gone back on the Pachmarhi declaration and was now willing to share power with allies. ``But, there is no vacancy (at the Centre).''
The Congress could not live without power, and it would not allow other parties to rule when it was not in power. The Congress had no right to ask the BJP-led Government to resign on moral grounds. It had no right to talk of morals, he said.
The Opposition was stalling a debate on the Tehelka expose in Parliament. Although the Government was willing to debate the issue and had ordered an inquiry by a sitting or a retired Supreme Court judge, the Congress was insisting that the Government quit, he said.
Referring to the formation of a third front, he said this was only a Congress front.