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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Indian opposition mounts attack on PM

NEW DELHI, March 23 : India's united opposition mounted attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday over the cash-for-votes scam wondering as to how he could wash his hands of the matter as he had headed the government in 2008 and was the "biggest beneficiary" of the trust vote.

Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj made a stinging attack on Singh in the Lok Sabha telling him that as head of the government he should take responsibility instead of making others scapegoat for the omissions and commissions of his regime.

"It is the habit of the prime minister to blame others. If it is price rise then (agriculture minister) Sharad Pawar is responsible, if it is 2G then (former telecom minister) A Raja is responsible and if it is Commonwealth Games then (Suresh) Kalmadi is to blame," she said "The issue involves your leadership," she said, quoting an Urdu couplet which means one should not make any excuse but tell how the caravan got looted. The prime minister was present in the house and was listening intently to the debate.

Earlier, initiating the discussion on the prime minister's statement on the WikiLeak's expose in connection with the cash-for-votes scam, CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta accused Singh of resorting to "parliamentary piracy" to win the vote of confidence in 2008 and demanded that he come clean.

He said the report of a parliamentary panel on the scam had clearly recommended "investigation by an appropriate agency" into the alleged attempts to purchase votes to win the trust vote on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.

"It's a case of parliamentary piracy because some members were hijacked. The suspicion is that organised group of political gangsters were at work," he said.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley said that PM's statement was misleading and nobody can say that WikiLeaks cables are not verifiable.

The BJP also said that it was a 'retail purchase of parliamentarians' to gain majority on the issue and even the MP's of BJP were approached for the same.

Dasgupta's remarks terming the alleged scam as an act of "parliamentary piracy" and the handiwork of "organised groups of political gangsters" drew an angry retort from the ruling benches.

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