Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Manmohan Singh Address

New Delhi: Accusing the BJP of taking a hostile stance, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on We d n e s d ay said states ruled by the main opposition party were blocking the rollout of goods & services tax (GST) following the arrest of former Gujarat minister of state for home Amit Shah. 
Shah was arrested by the CBI in connection with the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case. Though he is out on bail now, the Supreme Court has asked him to stay out of Gujarat. When asked by television journalists about the hold-up in economic reforms during the UPA’s second term in office, the prime minister said the opposition, by disrupting Parliament, was not cooperating with the government. He then flagged GST as an area and said: “But the opposition parties, particularly BJP, has taken hostile attitude and the reasons that have been given, frankly I cannot mention it in public. They say because you have taken some decision against a particular person who was a minister in Gujarat, you must reverse it. I don’t want to add further.”
BJP president Nitin Gadkari, however, termed as “laughable” the prime minister’s charge that the BJP was attacking the government to vent its anger at the action taken against Shah.
Though GST has been in the works for several years, the biggest tax reform that will result in a convergence in the rate of excise duties and service tax has seen no progress for nearly six months now. Till the arrest of Shah only Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu were opposed to the introduction of GST. Subsequently, other BJP-ruled states, including the likes of Bihar where NDA is in power, joined the bandwagon. 

‘Cong trying to defame Gujarat’ 

Ahmedabad: The BJP reacted sharply to prime minister Manmohan Singh linking the party’s holding up of the goods and service tax amendment in parliament to ex-minister Amit Shah’s arrest in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.
   National spokesperson of the party Prakash Javdekar, who was in Ahmedabad on Wednesday, termed Singh’s press conference in Delhi as a cover up for the scams. “It is not just the BJP, other parties have also demanded a joint parliamentary committee to investigate the scam,” said Javdekar.
   Refusing to comment on the verdict on the 2002 Godhra carnage expected on Saturday, he said, “For over a decade, the Congress and some non-government organisations are trying to defame Gujarat”. In reference to activist Teesta Setalvad, he said, “The truth has been exposed, so those who were out to defame the state are now running to get anticipatory bail”.
   Javdekar said that Singh has proved that he is too weak to run a coalition government. “Atal Behari Vajpayee was also the prime minister of a coalition government, but he did not compromise on any issue and took his own decisions,” he said.
   “The case of Raja was of a coalition party, but what stopped the prime minister from taking action against his own leaders such as Delhi chief minister Sheila Dixit and CWG organising committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi who were alleged to have been involved in the common wealth games corruption,” he said.
   He also pointed out that in the Adarsh scam no FIR was lodged, and finally the high court had to intervene and order the police to lodge an FIR. Even in the 2G scam, the two accused officials were not chargesheeted, which made it easy for them to get out on bail.
   “It is very disappointing to know that the prime minister himself admits he does not have strength to fight corruption,” said Javadekar.
   He demanded that the Congress should order formation of a joint parliamentary committee and take some measures to get back the money stashed away in Swiss banks. He also demanded that the prime minister should take some stringent steps instead of covering up the misdeeds of his government.

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