BJP to make Baalu episode an election issue

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New Delhi, Apr 29 (UNI) Stepping up its tirade against the UPA government for promoting corruption and shielding tainted ministers, the Bharatiya Janata Party today decided to make the Baalu episode as one of the electoral issues along with price rise in the coming elections.

Dubbing the UPA government as the most corrupt regime the country ever had, the party described Shipping and Transport Minister T R Baalu seeking favours from the Petroleum Ministry for the companies owned by his son as one of the biggest scandals which the government was trying to shield.

The BJP would strongly raise this issue inside and outside Parliament to expose the Congress-led UPA regime which has a number of 'tainted' ministers, BJP Parliamentary Party spokesman Vijay Kumar Malhotra said after the meeting chaired by Leader of the Opposition L K Advani.

The people had started realising that this government was protecting 'tainted ministers' and would reply to it decisively in the electoral battle, Mr Malhotra said.

He questioned the 'silence' maintained by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on the issue, even as Mr Baalu had 'brazenly' accepted having written to the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry with regard to supply of gas to the companies owned by his sons.

The party attempted to draw a contrast between UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi's silence on the 'scandal' involving the DMK minister and the former Union Minister Feroze Gandhi's crusade against his colleague T T Krishnamachari during the Nehru regime.

Alleging that the Congress had departed from the standards of probity and accountability that prevailed in the early decades of Independence, when one "Mundhra scandal" revealed by late Feroze Gandhi in Parliament had rocked Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's Government in the late 1950s. Mr Feroze Gandhi, a congress MP and a minister at that time, had disclosed that the Life Insurance Corporation had put in Rs 1.24 crore in industrialist Haridas Mundhra's sinking companies without consulting Parliament's Investment Committee, forcing the government to set up a committee to probe the issue.

Addressing the meeting, Mr Advani said that x x x Eds here pick up from line one para five of DI 21, Politics-BJP-UPA-Baalu.

UNI KAS PK BD1810

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