Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)

Congress, Left parties back Shanta’s stance on corruption in saffron party

- HT Correspond­ent letterschd@hindustant­imes.com

SHIMLA: Former Union minister Shanta Kumar letter calling for setting up of an ethics committee to check corruption in BJP may have raised a political storm. But veteran leaders have got support from the ruling

Congress and Left parties while saffron leaders are maintainin­g a studied silence.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh backed Shanta’s stance on corruption in the BJP. “It is very true; this is his inner voice which he has raised. Wherever there is corruption, voice should be raised against it. If you see this example of encroachme­nt in Himachal we are dealing with, this problem has also been created by the BJP,” said Virbhadra Singh.

Senior leaders and IPH Minister Vidya Stokes backed Shanta. “Corruption is increasing among the BJP and their government­s. It is right for Shanta Kumar to feel against corruption. He is feeling that he is stuck among corrupt people. He does not feel free to work. Only writing letters would not help. One should bring the corrupt to book,” said Stokes.

The Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee on Tuesday criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for failing to take action against tainted BJP leaders in Vyapam Scam, Lalit Modi scandal and other such issues despite his tall claims of zero tolerance against corruption. It was stated that senior BJP leader and Kangra MP Shanta Kumar’s statement validates the party’s stand on these issues.

HPCC chief spokespers­on Naresh Chauhan said Shanta Kumar, in his letter to BJP presi- dent Amit Shah, had termed these scandals as dishearten­ing for party workers as the party had not taken action in these cases. “The Congress admires the courage of senior BJP leader Shanta Kumar, who had a clean image throughout his political his life, in accepting the follies of the BJP government,” Chauhan said, adding that the statement also validates the stand of the Congress on these issues.

Chauhan said Modi, during the Lok Sabha elections, had made tall claims of adopting zero tolerance towards corruption and taking strict action against corrupt leaders, but after coming to power, the PM seems to have forgotten these promises. “Modi’s silence on Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who had helped fugitive Lalit Modi, is unbecoming of him,” he added.

The CPI (M) held both the Congress and BJP responsibl­e for corruption in the country. “Corruption is a non-serious issue for the BJP. If you want to be a big leader in the party, it is a qualificat­ion in the BJP - You need to collect money. Honesty and dishonesty are relative terms for the BJP. As far as Shanta Kumar’s letter is concerned, it vindicates the stand that the BJP is marked by widespread corruption like the Congress,” said Deputy Mayor and member of CPI (M) state Secretaria­t Tikender Singh Panwar.

BJP spokespers­on Ganesh Dutt said every worker and leader of the party had a right to his personal opinion, but leaking the letter to the press a day before commenceme­nt of the Budget session is like giving an issue to the Opposition to harp on.

It is very true; this is his inner voice which he has raised. Wherever there is corruption, voice should be raised against it. If you see the example of encroachme­nts in HP, this problem has also been created by BJP

VIRBHADRA SINGH, HP CM

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