New Delhi: Armed with the Wikileaks expose about the 2008 trust vote over the Indo-US nuclear deal, the Opposition closed in ranks demanding the immediate resignation of the government, contending that it has lost moral right to continue as the country’s democracy has been maligned The government, meanwhile, continues to strategise on how to distance itself from the Congress taint, even as the opposition awaits a response from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Unfazed by the united Opposition attack over Wikileaks reports, Congress yesterday dismissed demands for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s resignation, accusing its detractors of indulging in “irresponsible” politics and “destabilising” the country.
Hailing Singh as a “spotless Prime Minister”, party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the reports on US diplomatic cables were “unverified leaks without any corroborative authentication” and “outlandish allegations not worth dignifying with a response”.
He also attacked ‘The Hindu‘ newspaper, which is publishing reports based on US diplomatic cables released by whistleblower website Wikileaks and said that his party was aware of its “legal rights” and has not closed the option to deal with the situation.
“It is irresponsible politics and it is irresponsible journalism,” he said, adding that as far as the question of bringing a privilege motion or filing a defamation suit is concerned, all our legal rights are open.
“All political or other ways are open…. We are not giving clean chit to anybody,” was his response when asked whether his party would file a defamation suit against the newspaper.
Singhvi maintained that “the law is not that you make an outlandish allegation and if I do not file defamation, you are correct” and rued “somebody chose to publish it as if it was gospel truth.”
Singhvi said those who think that their political ratings will go up by raising such issues or those thinking that their circulation will shoot up by publishing such news should remember that UPA won in 2009 Lok Sabha elections despite “such wild allegations” levelled against it in 2007-08 as well.
Questioning NDA’s “temerity” to pass a resolution seeking Prime Minister’s resignation on the issue, Singhvi said, “People who dream of replacing the Prime Minister” have remained “Prime Minister in Waiting” for long.
He lambasted the BJP for “firing from the hip” without “understanding what democracy is all about and destablising the country. “There is not an iota of proof directly or indirectly… it is an outlandish allegation not worth dignifying with a response…there are enormous factual inconsistencies in the report,” he said.
Seeking to dismiss the Wikileaks reports, Singhvi, a senior lawyer, trashed it as a “subjective recording by Mr A of his conversation with B as reported to C and some times referring to D.”
Asked whether the Prime Minister’s image would suffer and if the party was losing ground over the issue, Singhvi said, “There is no question of losing ground. It will be underestimating common people to believe that they would go by such wild allegations”.
Singhvi also criticised the BJP over its reaction on Income Tax notice to Gujarat government seeking details of the MoUs signed during a recent investment meet in the state and wondered whether the BJP ruled state is out of purview of Indian laws.
“Are the Income Tax laws not applicable to Gujarat because it is ruled by Narendra Modi and BJP. It’s an example of a guilty mind always being suspicious. There is no reply by the BJP government to the notice sent by the department yet. In a way they tried to pre-empt the move to seek information…this is climax of irresponsible politics,” he said.