Advani smells power, blasts Manmohan on corruption (Lead)

April 30th, 2008 - 8:23 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, April 30 (IANS) Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K Advani Wednesday blasted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for not having an ‘incorruptible team’ and claimed that the people were aspiring for a change. In an explicit shift from the core issue of inflation, Advani chose corruption to attack the Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance government, and termed corruption as ‘a major obstacle in the path of inclusive growth’, the mantra of the present dispensation.

“The people are looking for change, for a better alternative, I can say with full confidence that the BJP-led NDA (National Democratic Alliance) will emerge as the real alternative,” Advani said at the annual session here of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Though Advani began with Prime Minister Singh’s call for ‘political consensus and help from the industry to fight inflation’, he underlined the need to spell out measures to bring the prices of essential commodities down.

“For people want to see results on the ground. After all, sound management of the economy is a core responsibility of the central government,” Advani said only to switch focus to corruption.

It is an issue that has been giving nightmares to the government ever since Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Minister T.R. Baalu admitted in the Rajya Sabha April 23 to have sought the intervention of the prime minister’s office to help out firms run by his family members.

“Prime Minister Singh’s personal integrity is beyond doubt. However, it is now equally beyond doubt that he is neither able nor trying to enforce probity in his government,” Advani said.

“It is now common knowledge that the UPA government is by far the most corrupt in Indian history. The prime minister is exhibiting the same helplessness that he earlier did when asked to act against the tainted ministers in his cabinet.”

In order to bring home his point, Advani referred to how Feroze Gandhi in 1958 forced his father-in-law Jawaharlal Nehru to set up a commission to look into financial bungling, and then Finance Minister T.T. Krishnamachari had to resign owning the moral responsibility for the episode.

When the UPA government came to power in 2004, the BJP and the NDA stalled parliament proceedings for days, demanding the removal of six tainted ministers from the cabinet.

Referring to Manmohan Singh’s call Tuesday for “nationally accepted norms of governance”, Advani said: “Neither the minister (Baalu) nor the prime minister is following any such norm… the case of the minister seeking gas supply at concessional rates for business run by his sons is only the tip of the iceberg.”

As the gathering comprised of industry captains like Sunil Bharti Mittal of Bharti Telecom and M.V. Kamath of ICICI Bank, the BJP leader did not forget to showcase his party as “the country’s real hope” from how the six-year-rule of NDA ‘uncaged’ the Indian tiger by creating a robust economy, with all round capacity building and good governance, and hoped to repeat the same “if the people give us (BJP) the mandate in the next Lok Sabha elections.”

Advani referred to the nuclear blasts in Pokharan in 1998, the mega interstate golden quadrilateral road project to the universalisation of education through Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), and recounted how the policy of his government ‘unshackled the Indian private sector to bring mobile phones within the reach of the common man.’

The BJP veteran pointed towards soaring ambitions of youths and the need to create more job opportunities, rejuvenate rural India, and promised to offer ‘a more result oriented government than any government has until now’ to ensure inclusive growth in the real sense of the term.

“What India has witnessed in recent years is growth with widening inequalities… the earnings of 20 richest Indians exceeds those of 30 crore poor Indians. Lopsided growth, however high its rate, can never be sustainable,” Advani said.

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