Congress today dared BJP for a debate in a public forum on the coal controversy but refrained from coming to the defence of party MPs who are facing the heat for alleged irregularities in coal block allocation.
“We are ready to discuss it in any public forum. Let BJP come forward if it has confidence. We can debate in any public forum and the truth will come out. People of the country will decide whose faces are blackened with coal,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari told reporters here.
He,at the same time,refused to come to the defence of individual leaders of the party when asked about controversies involving party MPs Naveen Jindal,Vijay Darda and former minister Santosh Bagrodia over the coal block allocations.
“If there is a question related to anyone’s business,it can be better answered by the person concerned himself,” he said.
Tewari appeared dismissive of reports that one of the coal allottees Manoj Jaiswal has in one document referred to “one Jaiswal of Kanpur” as the person who will settle disputes if any among partners.
“Whether there is only one Jaiswal,who is living in Kanpur or there are many Jaiswals living there,it can be better answered through the census book.
“But the larger question is that a bundle of lies is beingdoled out. My question is whether any new coal block was allocated after 2008 (after Sriprakash Jaiswal became Chief Minister). Baseless allegations are being levelled,” he said.
Tewari said that since the BJP is facing tough questions by people for the washout of the Monsoon session,it is resorting to these allegations to divert attention.
“If the BJP was so confident of its facts,why did it run away from a debate in Parliament. They knew a debate would expose them,” he said.
Tewari,however,evaded questions on Samajwadi Party’s allegation that the allotment of coal blocks to three companies was completed within half an hour of Sriprakash Jaiswal taking oath.
While attacking BJP for its “heaven and hell difference” between its words and deeds,Tewari again chose to hint at some connect between the main Opposition party and the CAG.
“BJP,which till the last day was raising questions on the CAG is now its greatest advocate. Something is there somewhere,” Tewari said.
The Congress spokesperson had yesterday talked about “meeting of minds” between the BJP and the CAG,a remark which was condemned by BJP and JD-U.
Tewari was also evasive when asked about reports of the former Samajwadi Party MLA Kishore Samrite alleging that he had got a rape case lodged against Rahul Gandhi at the behest of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
“We generally do not comment on issues pending before the Supreme Court,” was the brief response of Tewari. Samajwadi Party is supporting the UPA government from outside.
Asked about violence during Congress protest in Odisha an episode into which the AICC-in charge for the state Jagdish Tytler has courted controversy for his speech,Tewari said the incident of manhandling of a woman constable was “reprehensible and totally condemnable”.
Asked about the controversy surrounding a Jammu and Kashmir minister’s body guards allegedly roughing up a traffic police officer,Tewari said if people take law in their hands it is not acceptable.