Thungan conviction in graft case: BJP seizes opportunity to hit back at Congress

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New Delhi, July 27: Under attack on Vyapam scam and Lalit Modi row, BJP on Monday seized on the conviction of former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister PK Thungan in a graft case and sought to question Congress' credentials to raise the issue of corruption and stall Parliament.

BJP said skeletons of yesteryears continued to tumble out of Congress closet even now and it had no moral authority to talk of corruption and stall Parliament run on public money.

Thungan conviction:BJP hits back at Cong

"Congress is talking of corruption, skeletons of corruption of yesteryears are tumbling out of its closet," BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra said raising the conviction of Thungan, a veteran Congress MP from North East, who had been a two-time Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh and twice a Union Minister.

Patra, who was flanked by two Union Ministers Kiran Rijiju from Arunachal Pradesh and Sarbananda Sonowal of Assam, asked Congress to introspect and own up its leader convicted two days ago for corruption.

"Such is the level of corruption in Congress that ages have passed, the age of Indira Gandhi is over but still the corruption cases of that age is existing.

[Former union minister PK Thungon gets 4.5 years jail term for corruption]

"This is called fossilised corruption. The corruption which does not die, the corruption which lives forever during the reign of Congress and look at the shamelessness of Congress that it is trying to gain a high moral ground as far as corruption is concerned," he said.

Rijiju said since Thungan was a prominent Congress leader from North East and was the chief minister for two terms and a two-time union minister, Congress should not "disown" him.

"Congress should own responsibility for the conviction of one of its very senior leaders," he said.

Patra said Thungan was considered a close confidante of Indira Gandhi.

"Today, if Congress needs to do something, it is introspection," he said.

He alleged Congress, which is responsible for some of the biggest scams of the country, has stalled Parliament.

"Congress should be introspecting, Congress should be asking questions from its own Ministers and Congress and refrain fromwasting tax-payers' money when the government is ready to discuss, debate and reach a decision," he said.

Patra and Rijiju said Thungan was embroiled in not one but two corruption cases -- the irrigation scandal in Nagaland and the DDA flat allotment scam in Delhi. 

Raising cases of corruption being exposed in state after state that are ruled by Congress, Patra accused Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat of "making money" by tweaking liquor policy to benefit private distributors.

"(The) Uttarakhand Chief Minister is directly indicted by the video," he said and listed the Louis Berger scam in Goa and Assam, two Congress ruled states, saying fingers were being pointed at them.

Earlier in the day, BJP released a CD of a sting operation in which Rawat's personal secretary Mohammad Shahid is purportedly bargaining with middlemen and private liquor distributors about the commission to be given to him for allowing them instead of government undertakings to distribute liquor in Dehradun. The CD does not feature Rawat.

To a question on whether the Home Ministry is taking any action on the Louis Berger case, Rijiju said, "This is a serious allegation, it is a prima facie case. Steps taken by the Home Ministry, I will not be able to divulge as it is a serious matter. The moral responsibility should be owned by the person who was occupying the post."

Quoting President Pranab Mukherjee, Patra said, as there are four D's in parliamentary democratic set-up - debate, discussion, decision and disruption, "Let the last option never become the first option. Debate, discuss and decide for the benefit of the nation."

Asked if the party can justify the bad deeds by past precedents, he said, "When a wrong has not been committed.
Those who have erred always in the past as well as in the present should not stall the Parliament."

Asked whether the BJP can still claim what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at completion of one year of his government at Deen Dayal Dham near Mathura that there has not been a single allegation against anyone in his government, the BJP spokesperson said every BJP worker can claim thumping his chest that not a single penny has been misappropriated.

"Thumping the chest, every BJP worker can claim with his head held high that in this government's one year and four months of tenure not even a single paisa of the country has not been misappropriated. How the people of the country should progress, we have done work to that effect," he said.

IANS

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