Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Tuesday Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is under Opposition fire over alleged irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) he once headed, will emerge with “flying colours” in the same way party veteran L K Advani did when his name was dragged into an alleged hawala scandal in the 1990s.
Comparing Jaitley’s situation to that of Advani’s, Modi asked party MPs to fight the Congress “conspiracy” of dragging “noble leaders” of the BJP into controversies.
“When Advaniji’s name was dragged into the Hawala scam by the Congress, the entire nation stood by him. Advaniji jitna pavitra hain, Jaitleyji utna hi hain (Jaitley is as pure as Advani),” Modi was quoted as saying at a meeting of the BJP parliamentary party.
Incidentally, Kirti Azad, the BJP MP who called a press conference to target Jaitley on the DDCA issue and then spoke on the matter in the Lok Sabha, was not present at the meeting Tuesday. He later tweeted he had a prior appointment and that he had not boycotted the meeting.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said: “The Prime Minister gave the example of L K Advani. The government at that time tried to implicate him in the Hawala case. Advani came through with flying colours and the strategy of the Congress boomeranged. Same thing is going to happen regarding allegations against Jaitley… Congress is inventing an issue to defame the government.”
Advani was seated on the dais when the Prime Minister mentioned his case. He was one of the leaders investigated by the CBI during the rule of the Congress government under P V Narasimha Rao. Advani had resigned and stayed out of Parliament until his name was cleared in the case.
According to party sources, Modi described the allegations Jaitley is as pure as Advani, says Modi, draws hawala smear parallel
against Jaitley as a “wrong and manufactured strategy” of the Congress to fix the “good and noble” ministers of the BJP.
“He also referred to charges against Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Union Minister Sushma Swaraj. He said as we have understood the Congress strategy, we should be ready with a big fight against it,” sources said.
According to a party leader, Modi said the BJP should battle it out in the “people’s court”. “This should be taken to Jan Sabhas,” he was quoted saying. He told MPs to hold press conferences and Jan Sampark Abhiyans (mass contact programmes) in their constituencies.
Starting next month, BJP MPs will spend a night in each assembly segment of their seat to spread awareness about the “good work” being done by the Modi government and the Opposition “campaign to defame” it.