New Delhi, March 9 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari Wednesday denied any differences in the party over the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) issue and said the party would raise the controversial appointment of P.J. Thomas during a nationwide agitation against the UPA government next month.
Addressing mediapersons here after a meeting of the BJP national office-bearers and state unit chiefs, Gadkari denied any differences between party leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement owning responsibility for appointment of P.J. Thomas as CVC.
He also said the party was not satisfied with the prime minister’s statement on the appointment of Thomas and will raise it during nationwide agitations April 6 and June 15.
The appointment of Thomas as CVC was struck down by the Supreme Court.
Sushma Swaraj had said “let matters rest” after the prime minister said in Jammu he owned up responsibility for the appointment, and had Monday not raised any questions after the prime minster said he had “erred in judgement” and owned up responsibility for the CVC’s appointment in the Lok Sabha.
But Jaitley Tuesday said he was not satisfied with the prime minister’s reply in the Rajya Sabha. He said the prime minister did not tell how the name of Thomas was “smuggled into the panel” of three names for the sensitive appointment. He said those who “smuggled the name” hid from the high-level appointment committee the fact that he was facing charges of corruption.
Though Gadkari denied differences between the two party leaders, he took a line similar to that taken by Jaitley.
“The issue of CVC is not over. We are not satisfied with prime minister’s reply. We will raise it among people… The UPA, PM have failed to give a reply to people,” Gadkari said.
The BJP president said that in his reply to clarifications sought by members in the Rajya Sabha, the prime minister had put the blame for the appointment of Thomas on the then minister of state for personnel and training Prithviraj Chavan, who is now Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
“Chavan has further put the blame on the Kerala government. Is the central government being run by Kerala government,” Gadkari asked. Thomas is facing a probe in a palmolein import case of 1992.
To a question if the prime minister should resign over the CVC issue, Gadkari said “a sensitive person should decide about his role himself”.
The BJP president said rallies will be held in every district during the nationwide agitation and the party will highlight the “misrule and corruption of the UPA government”. He said the party will also raise the issue of black money.
Gadkari alleged that Rs.22 lakh crore of black money of the country was in foreign banks.
He also said that the government was facing the ire of the Supreme Court on a range of issues, including appointment of CVC and case of tax evasion relating to Pune businessman Hasan Ali.
Referring to the probe into irregularities in the Commonwealth Games, Gadkari said that files for financial allocations were signed by the Prime Minister’s Office, Group of Ministers and the concerned ministers.
“The whole government is responsible for corruption. The bad governance and wrong policies are responsible for the price rise,” he said.
He said those who should be held responsible for the CWG corruption were not being held accountable and the probe was mainly directed at those who were responsible for expenses of about Rs.1,800 crore.
He also denied that party leader L.K. Advani by expressing regret to Congress president Sonia Gandhi over allegations concerning her family in the party’s task force report on unaccounted money abroad had diluted the issue.
“Advaniji wrote in a dignified language about hurt caused to her,” Gadkari said, adding that no other meaning should be read into it.
He said the government was suffering from “crisis of credibility and there was total failure of the system”.