Cong cites Jashodaben's RTI query to puncture Modi's claim of transparency

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New Delhi, Oct 16: Congress today sought to prick holes in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's claim of transparency, saying the PMO even denied information on his wife Jashodaben's query on her security cover under the RTI Act.

The opposition party also took a dig at Modi over attending a convention to celebrate 10 years of the RTI Act, wondering whether "imminent defeat" of BJP in poll-bound Bihar forced him to cancel rallies and participate in the event.

RTI: Cong punctures Modi's claim

The Prime Minister's wife herself had sought, under the RTI Act, details of official orders under which she had been provided security cover but the information was not provided by the PMO, Congress spokesperson Rita Bahuguna Joshi said.

In November 2014, Jashodaben had filed an RTI application with Mehsana police seeking clarity on the security cover given to her, and wanted to know about her entitlements. Jashodaben sought certified copies of orders passed by the government with regard to her security.

She also demanded information about laws and related provisions in Constitution about security cover given to the wife of prime minister. Jashodaben lives with her brother Ashok Modi at Unjha town of Mehsana district.

After Modi was sworn-in as Prime Minister on May 26 last year, she has been given security by Mehsana police. On Modi attending the event, Joshi said at the AICC briefing, "Is it that the imminent defeat of the BJP in Bihar, forced him to cancel his rallies - to shield himself from the blame of loss - and attend the RTI Convention?" She also sought to know whether the PM cancelled his rallies and attended the function owing to a "change of heart" because of Congress exhortation a few days ago.

She recalled that on October 12 which marks the RTI Day, the Prime Minister because of his "engagements" with election rallies in Bihar did not attend any function to mark the celebration and review of RTI Act.

The government got the function shifted today, and even today it was Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and not the Prime Minister, who was supposed to attend the function, she said. "One is constrained to question here as to the reason behind the decision of Modi attending the Convention today.

Noting that the Prime Minister stressed on strengthening the RTI Act and said that people should have the right to question their governments, Joshi hoped that the Prime Minister will "walk his talk" and act on what he said today. "Till now, his actions - be it with regards to diluting the RTI or silencing protesting voices - have been in total contrast to what he said," she added. She also condemned the selective invites to RTI activists and their IB checks.

PTI

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