Advani calls bribery bid ’sad situation’

July 22nd, 2008 - 6:32 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bharatiya Janata Party

New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani Tuesday expressed anguish after three of his party colleagues stunned the nation by flashing wads of currency notes in the Lok Sabha alleging they were being bribed to abstain during the trust vote. Commotion gripped the house when BJP MPs Ashok Argal (Morena), Fagan Singh Kulaste (Mandla) and Mahavir Bhagora (Salumber) walked rapidly towards the speaker’s chair, placed two leather bags on a table and forked out bundles of notes of Rs.1,000 denomination.

The incensed MPs said they were paid Rs.1 crore (Rs.10 million) each to stay away from the Lok Sabha later Tuesday and promised Rs.8 crore (Rs.80 million) after the conclusion of the trust vote.

“In my parliamentary career, I have never come across such a sad situation where MPs were offered money to abstain from voting (in the confidence vote),” a visibly upset Advani told reporters outside the parliament house, as millions across India watched the television scenes in horror.

Advani termed it a serious matter and demanded “a proper inquiry”.

He refused to say who had tried to bribe the MPs. “They themselves will tell the house who gave them the money.”

As the three MPs - and others from the BJP - began brandishing the wads of notes, a stunned Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal immediately left his chair and then adjourned the house until 5 p.m.

Atwal was trying to persuade Basudeb Acharya of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) to end his somewhat rambling speech when the commotion broke out.

The Congress angrily accused the opposition of trying to whip up a drama.

“This is a scripted story,” charged Congress spokesman Tom Vadakkan. “The issue has been decided in favour of the UPA (United Progressive Alliance). The whole project is to show them (BJP) on a moral high ground.”

While Argal and Mandla are from Madhya Pradesh, Bhagora is from Rajasthan.

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