Opposition BJP on Monday stepped up its pressures on Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh demanding his resignation in the wake of the CBI case registered against him and also for the subsequent raids conducted at his residences, including Holly Lodge – his private bungalow in the state.
The chief minister, however, rejected the demand for his resignation. Earlier, the Himachal Pradesh High Court had restrained the CBI from arresting him in the Disproportionate Assets (DA) case.
The BJP’s legislature party, which met this morning to work-out its strategy on the issue, feared that Virbhadra Singh will impede the process of investigations, and misuse his powers to further delay the course of law. He has already made attempts to create legal hurdles to delay the investigations, and even lodged an FIR, the party said .
In a memorandum submitted to the state Governor, Archarya Devvrat at Raj Bhawan after the meeting, the party demanded dismissal of the Congress government to ensure a free and fair probe into the charges against Virbhadra Singh. The charges pertains to his tenure as Union Minister for steel between 2009-2012.
“The UPA government, during whose regime the investigations had started, tried to suppress the charges and protect a person facing serious charges. It is a result of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resolve about zero-tolerance against corruption that the probe has picked up pace,” said Srikant Sharma, BJP national secretary and in-charge of Himachal Pradesh.
Srikant Sharma said, “We are also taking the battle up to Delhi. Besides holding mass protests and rallies in the state to expose Virbhadra Singh, the party will also approach President of India and avail all other options to see that Chief Minister resigns immediately.”
The CBI, on September 23, had registered an FIR against Virbhadra Singh, his wife Pratibha Singh, who is a former MP, and two other private persons. The Congress MLAs who have pledged support to Virbhadra Singh, last week submitted a memorandum to President of India, accusing the Central government of selectively targeting Virbhadra Singh and conducted raids against him.
The BJP rejected the Chief Minister’s claim that Union Minister Arun Jaitley or Prem Kumar Dhumal were behind the case as well as the CBI raids. The party, instead, asked Virbhadra Singh to recount his wrong doing which he tried to legitimise by revising income tax returns to show his apple orchard’s income suddenly increasing to several crores from few lakhs .
Asked if Congress MLAs were in touch with the BJP, Dhumal said, “We dont consider any body untouchable .The issue is that there should be a fair probe and for which Virbhadra must resign. Let there be assembly elections in 2016 for a fresh mandate. He (CM) has lost faith of the people. He was still trying to mislead the people and Congress party is protecting him to compromise with the corrupts in the party.”
Senior BJP leader Shanta Kumar, meanwhile, took a different line on the party’s claim about Congress MLAs in touch with the BJP. “I don’t believe in politics of defections or toppling of a elected government.” He, however, suggested that Virbhadra Singh should resign on moral grounds and face the probe to prove his innocence if he has done no wrong.