BJP decides to target Sonia Gandhi over Vadra-DLF land deal

Congress is afraid of facing Parliament on this issue: Ramesh Bais

Written by Ravish Tiwari | New Delhi | Published: August 12, 2013 9:54 pm

The BJP has decided to attack Congress president Sonia Gandhi directly over the alleged irregularities in land deals involving her son-in-law Robert Vadra,setting aside the party’s earlier inhibitions about specifically targeting the Gandhi family over corruption.

It is reliably learnt that all senior BJP leaders,including BJP parliamentary party chief L K Advani,party president Rajnath Singh and leaders of opposition in both Houses are on board with the decision.

Cong MP seeks probe into Vadra land deal

The party had in fact wanted to raise the issue strongly on Monday itself,but Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath managed to ward off the demand,even though it meant delaying the discussion on the food security Bill.

The BJP leadership,which has until now stopped short of targeting the Gandhi family directly,is believed to have decided to change its strategy after IAS officer Ashok Khemka’s report to the Haryana government’s commission of inquiry into the Vadra-DLF land deals surfaced.

A few voices in the party were against resorting to personal attacks,sources said,but the final decision was to press ahead and demand a high-level probe into the allegations,which have been around for some time now.

“It was decided on Sunday itself that Sushma Swaraj will ask some party members to give notice for suspension of Question Hour on this issue,” a BJP source said on Monday.

As part of this strategy,three BJP members — Yashwant Sinha,Nishikant Dubey and Anurag Thakur — had given notices for the suspension of Question Hour in Lok Sabha on Monday. While their notices were not accepted,the Question Hour was disrupted because of protests by Left members over the solar scam in Kerala,and by the TDP over Telangana.

Speaker Meira Kumar subsequently held a meeting with floor leaders where Swaraj is believed to have demanded that BJP members be allowed to raise the Vadra issue. But Kamal Nath,in the presence of floor leaders from other parties,rejected the demand,saying it was an issue concerning a state government.

Swaraj,sources said,retorted by raising a technical point that the issue relates to falsification of financial documents of a nationalised bank and was hence fit to be discussed in the Lok Sabha.

BJP members explained later that Swaraj was referring to the Corporation Bank cheque,which forms the core of Khemka’s report alleging irregularities in a land deal between a firm linked to Vadra and realty major DLF.

“Since the case pertains to that of a nationalised bank,only the union finance minister can respond,and that is why it is a fit case to be raised in the Lok Sabha,” a BJP leader said.

The parliamentary affairs minister,is learnt to have argued that by this logic,the ruling party could raise issues concerning,say,Madhya Pradesh,a BJP-ruled state. Swaraj,however,stuck to her demand,retorting that she was not going to decide what Congress members should raise in Parliament.

“She even offered a middle path to Kamal Nath that those who have given notices of suspension of Question Hour be given five minutes each to speak on the subject,after which the Lok Sabha could take up discussion over the food Bill. But even this suggestion was not accepted,” BJP chief whip in Lok Sabha Ramesh Bais told The Indian Express.

Despite the BJP members staying away from the well,Lok Sabha could not transact much business.

“Congress is afraid of facing Parliament on this issue,” Bais said,referring to the government’s alleged tacit support to disruptions caused by non-BJP members to avoid facing this issue.

The BJP has announced it will raise the issue again on Tuesday. “Tomorrow we will raise the son-in-law scam. It is an issue of falsification,issue of wrong declaration in financial issues concerning banks,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said on Monday afternoon,referring to Vadra as a “sarkari damaad”.

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