BJP responds aggressively to Sonia Gandhi’s remarks
Mangalore: On October 18, a rather aggressive Congress President Sonia Gandhi openly launched frontal attacks on the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in an address to her party workers in an All India Congress Committee (AICC) meeting in Mangalore. She accused the BJP for several issues ranging from corruption to division on the basis of communal lines.
Regarding the remarks made by Gandhi against her party, Nirmala Sitharaman, National Spokesperson of the BJP spoke to The Manipal Journal (TMJ) and responded to each allegation made by the UPA Chairperson. She was responding to TMJ’s queries telephonically from New Delhi.
On accusations relating to corruption performed by the BJP at several states, she replied, “Why doesn’t the UPA look at the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh where the Congress is in governance? The Supreme Court has asked answers on matters related to ‘corruption’ to the government; which very clearly the Central government failed to reply upon. There are two ministers in Andhra Pradesh arrested on an irrigation scam. With all this happening do you think it is right for Sonia Gandhi to put across bewildering promises and dishonest allegations like these?”
Later, she added, “Ask her (Sonia Gandhi) to answer on the Common Wealth Gate and the 2G Scam. Ask her to answer on the behalf of the Haryana Government in context to the Vadra-DLF Manesar land deal? There is a long unattended list of questions which needs to be given by the government, and it is still astonishing as to how the Congress can raise such questions.”
On the other hand Raghupati Bhatt, Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA), Udupi also spoke over the matter. He said, “It is better if Sonia Gandhi looks and reads the newspaper. Every day the UPA government has a scam to their name in diversified fields from sports to irrigation. Congress has now become synonymous to the word corruption.” However, he added, “I believe some people from our party might have performed such malpractices but they are very less as compared to the Congress.”
Gandhi in her speech had also alleged that the BJP were dividing the people of Karnataka on ‘communal’ lines, to which Sitharaman reacted, “If anyone notes today, the number of Communal riots under the UPA government have been drastically more. If you look at what has happened in Assam, Bihar you would know what I am talking about? There has been a history of communal riots under the Congress government.”
“If you take Assam, there were 3,000 Muslim families brutally killed in 1983 in the same state; where today another such situation has risen due to communal conflict, and they are kept in relief camps. The curfew imposed on the city of Hyderabad earlier this year due to communal disharmony is a blatant example of the rising communalism in the states under the UPA rule. Therefore, I believe the clear record of the BJP is unenviably envied by the Congress party. These just seem tricks by a hapless cornered UPA government, bringing in communal lines to distract the people of this country,” she added.
“After BJP has come into governance (and taken over from the Congress), the budget for minorities has been significantly increased from an odd 40 Crores to a whopping 286 Crores. A separate Christian Board has been made with a budget of 50 Crores. There is development initiatives announced for minorities and I believe that after BJP has taken charge of the state, there has been a considerable reduction in conflict seen in the region,” said Sitharaman.
On asking Bhat about issues related to the Mangalore incident, and the role of the Bajrang Dal in it, a rather infuriated Bhat replied, “These are foolish things to speak on your behalf. The Bajrang Dal has always focussed on the betterment of the people and is here to do good to the general public.”
Another interesting allegation put across by the UPA President was the non-execution of the central government’s decision to cap subsidised LPG cylinders at six per year, considering Congress-ruled states had raised it to nine cylinders per year. Also, it was alleged that the BJP-ruled states did not reduce VAT on diesel.
“It is the state government’s decision whether to have six or nine cylinders under subsidy; because every state government has a mandate and manifesto through which it approaches the people. Also, it should be noticed that the Central Government can add revenue through excise; however State Government’s do not have the power to do so. Therefore, they need to perform their operations within a certain budget. Our government in Goa have brought across a subsidy,” said Sitharaman.
Apparently, the UPA President also purported that in the last five years, UPA has rendered Karnataka government with a budget of rupees 80,000 Crore, unlike the NDA which issued rupees 30,000 Crore to the Karnataka Government.
Raghupati Bhatt said, “The NDA was in power up till 2003. There has been nine years of difference now. Over these years the taxes have increased drastically, with prices of domestic everyday commodities reaching up to sky high limits. Considering the situation nine years back, the government used to function smoothly with around 30,000 Crores depending on the situation. However, today we have a budget of 1,00,000 Crores. Let her compare the monetary grants provided by her to Andhra Pradesh, to Tamil Nadu, to West Bengal and then to Karnataka? The difference would be very clear. Also the Central Government has not even provided a single additional grant to the state whatsoever.”
Sub-edited by Sabari Saran