After being on the back foot on the issue of corruption in Parliament for the last few days, the Congress decided to hit back at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) following former BJP president Bangaru Laxman’s conviction by a court for accepting a bribe of Rs 1 lakh in 2001.
Though the attack on the government came over the issue of investments allegedly made by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram’s son, it was the issue of Bofors that the Congress opted to defend itself on. BJP and allies launched an attack on Chidambaram in Parliament and demanded his resignation following NDA leader and Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy’s allegation that Karti Chidambaram, son of the home minister, was one of the beneficiaries in the telecom scam.
Though the home minister was not present in the House, Opposition members stalled the proceedings of the Lok Sabha twice, following which the House was adjourned. “P Chidambaram has indulged in massive corruption. He should be dismissed as home minister immediately,” said senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha.
Swamy’s allegations against Karti Chidambaram, that he controlled Advantage Consulting Private Limited, the Chennai-based company said it would take legal action.
The BJP’s attack on the issue started to slacken after a CBI court convicted Laxman for accepting a bribe from undercover journalists posing as arms dealers of a UK-based company. The sting operation had captured Laxman on camera receiving a bribe of Rs 1 lakh from the reporters. Laxman had received the money and had promised he would recommend the defence ministry to award the contract of thermal binoculars to them.
“The irony for the BJP is that the chickens have come home to roost, and have come rather quickly. The BJP had raised the bogey of Bofors just yesterday when that matter has reached a judicial decision. It is time they should introspect. People who stay in glass houses should not throw stones at other’s house,” said Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari.
Soon after the conviction of Laxman, BJP distanced itself from the former party president. “This is a case of personal conduct. The charges are against Bangaru Laxman for deeds done as an individual and not as BJP president. Within an hour of the case coming to light, the party had removed him from the top post,” said BJP spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Hussain.