The BJP on Wednesday upped the ante against UPA Presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee on the issue of violation of office-of-profit rules while the UPA termed the objection as frivolous and scandalous adding that it was preposterous to suggest that Mukherjee would have fabricated his letter of resignation from the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI).
Demanding a copy of the written order from the Returning Officer rejecting his objections to Mukherjees candidature on Tuesday,Opposition candidate P A Sangma moved the Election Commission,which directed the Rajya Sabha secretary general,the Returning Officer for the elections,to provide a copy of the order.
The government said that the Opposition was taking the Presidential election to a new low. It is a scandalous suggestion and I am sure Mr Pranab Mukherjee,the candidate,has taken note of this scandalous statement, Chidambaram said in reply to a question on BJPs charge against Mukherjee. The BJP had on Tuesday said the resignation letter to ISI,Kolkata,was fabricated.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal,Mukherjees representative,also said the objections were frivolous. It is preposterous to suggest such a thing, he said.
In Thiruvananthpuram,Mukherjee countered the BJP charges himself: Who had forged my signature? I myself? I do not know what they have said. Who can forge his own signature. This issue we have debated at the office of the Returning Officer and the Returning Officer responded to that. How can somebody lodge a complaint that you forged your own signature?
BJP leader Satya Pal Jain,Sangmas representative,however,threatened to move the court on the matter even though there appeared to be a division within the Opposition camp whether the issue should now be taken to such an extent. Returning Officers order is a quasi-judicial order,but he is not providing the copy of it for reasons best known to him. Before deciding whether we approach court to seek recourse against his order,we might have to approach the court to get the order in the first place, Jain told The Indian Express over the phone from Chandigarh,terming the delay as shocking and intriguing.
That the BJP was not willing to let go of the issue was also obvious when senior leaders,including S S Ahluwalia,termed the delay in providing a certified copy of the Returning Officers order as unprecedented.
Following a meeting that Sangma had with BJP leader Sushma Swaraj,Ahluwalia indicated that the party was not in a mood to relent. However,a section of party leaders confided against pressing the issue further after Returning Officers order.