Vote bribe: BJP, BSP, CPM want PM to quit

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New Delhi, Jul 22 (UNI) The Opposition BJP and BSP today demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh following ''dislosure'' that a BJP MP was paid money to abstain from voting during the trust vote slated this evening.

BJP national president Rajnath Singh said the episode has proved the Prime Minister wrong that no money was exchanged for the crucial trust vote. ''The PM had asked for a proof...now we have the proof.

It is time he resigned,'' he told mediapersons here.

''I have alreay told you that such things were happening for the past three-four days..the money was paid by Congress and its allies,'' he added.

''The Speaker should ask for the CD, show it to representatives of all political parties and then take a decision on holding the trust vote. The NDA is ready for voting any time,'' he told mediapersons in the Parliament premises.

''If needed, the Speaker can extend the special session or call the House again,'' he added.

Stressing that the incident had brought shame to the nation in the eyes of the world, Mr Singh said his worst of fears expressed in the print and electronic media over the past few days had come true.

''The Congress and its allies had approached some of our MPs to either vote for the Government or abstain. Three of our MPs--Ashok Argal, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Bhagoda have come out with strong evidence to prove this.'' BJP leader Sushma Swaraj expressed similar sentiments and said the PM now had the proof he had been demanding.

Meanwhile, the BSP also demanded resignation of the PM following the episide. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and BSP president Mayawati said her suggestion to the Prime Minister is to step down on moral grounds. ''If he goes ahead with the trust vote, it will go down as the darkest hour in the history of Indian parliamentary democracy.

BSP general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP Satish Kumar Mishra said the Congress today has murdered the democracy. ''After the statement by our MPs that men reportedly from CBI had threatened them to refrain from voting against the government, the claim of the BJP have further strengthened fears that UPA was indluging in cheap political tactics.

''It has been shown that SP was behind the cash distribution...now our charges have been proved,'' he added.

RJD president and Union Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav termed the entire episode as a ''stage managed drama by the BJP to malign the UPA.'' ''It was Mr Advani who gave the money to a tribal MP...the BJP should have handed over the money to the Speaker and not displayed it openly,'' he said.

CPI-M leader Brinda Karat also strongly condemned the incident and said it had brought shame to the country and asked the Prime Minister to quit.

In an unprecedented development earlier in the day, the Lok Sabha witnessed dramatic scene of a BJP member producing wads of currency of Rs one crore alleged to be bribe money given to him to abstain during the trust vote.

Two hours before the House was to vote on the trust motion, it was plunged into chaos when Mr Ashok Arkal produced a bag containing the alleged bribe money which another BJP MP Joel Oram said was advance instalment of the total Rs three crore promised to him to abstain.

The Prime Minister left the House immediately after the ''bribe money'' was produced. However, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi along with government ministers sat through the pandemonium.

UNI TEAM-NAB AKJ NS1859

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