Have proof of cor­rup­tion by PM, will ex­pose him: Rahul Maha govt, Marathas agree to talk THE PROTESTS

BLAME GAME Gandhi says not al­lowed to dis­close info in LS, BJP calls it a joke

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Au­rangzeb Naqsh­bandi and Saub­hadra Chat­terji let­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com Shailesh Gaik­wad shailesh.gaik­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

Con­gress vice-pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi said on Wed­nes­day that he knew about “per­sonal cor­rup­tion” by Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi, who was “ter­ri­fied” of the in­for­ma­tion, but he wasn’t be­ing al­lowed by the govern­ment to speak about it in Par­lia­ment.

Gandhi gave no de­tails, and a govern­ment min­ster sought to dis­miss the charge as “the big­gest joke of the year”. “Read my lips. The Prime Min­is­ter is per­son­ally ter­ri­fied with the in­for­ma­tion I have. I have in­for­ma­tion on the per­sonal cor­rup­tion of (the) Prime Min­is­ter,” Gandhi said at a press con­fer­ence in the Par­lia­ment build­ing. “I want to re­veal in Lok Sabha… The govern­ment is not al­low­ing me to speak. PM is afraid that if he lets me speak then his bal­loon will burst.”

Gandhi has been spar­ring with Modi over the re­call of high-value ban­knotes, but it’s the first time he has cast as­per­sions on the in­tegrity of the Prime Min­is­ter, who rode to power two years ago vow­ing to stamp out cor­rup­tion.

Gandhi’s ac­cu­sa­tions are likely to worsen al­ready tense ties be­tween the govern­ment and the Op­po­si­tion over the de­mon­eti­sa­tion of 500- and 1000-ru­pee bank bills, a tus­sle that has stalled Par­lia­ment. Gandhi had ear­lier said if he speaks in Par­lia­ment there would be “an earth­quake and Modi would not be able to sit”.

In a sign that Gandhi could Mum­bai­ites stand in a queue to with­draw money from a bank at Fort on Wed­nes­day.

come un­der pres­sure to re­veal the in­for­ma­tion, Delhi CM Arvind Ke­jri­wal, a bit­ter ri­val to both the Con­gress and BJP, tweeted, “If Rahul Gandhi ac­tu­ally has pa­pers on Modiji’s per­sonal in­volve­ment in cor­rup­tion then why doesn’t he ex­pose it out­side Parl?”

The re­sponse from the govern­ment to Gandhi’s al­le­ga­tions was swift. Par­lia­men­tary af­fairs min­is­ter Ananth Ku­mar dared Gandhi to pro­vide proof. “His al­le­ga­tions are to­tally base­less… He has made him­self a laugh­ing stock,” he said. Min­is­ter of state for home Kiren Ri­jiju called the al­le­ga­tions “the big­gest joke of the year”.

Gandhi’s al­le­ga­tions took even his party col­leagues and al­lies by sur­prise.

For the first time since the Maratha com­mu­nity be­gan protest­ing three months ago, ex­pos­ing so­cial and eco­nomic fault-lines in the state, the Maharashtr­a govern­ment has achieved a break­through.

On Wed­nes­day, it asked the pro­test­ers to dis­cuss their de­mands with the govern­ment, and the pro­tes­tors agreed.

Af­ter a protest march in Nag­pur, a del­e­ga­tion of the or­gan­is­ers, Sakal Maratha Sa­maj, met chief min­is­ter Deven­dra Fadnavis and dis­cussed their de­mands.

Ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter Vinod Tawde, who heads a govern­ment com­mit­tee on reser­va­tions for Marathas, sug­gested to Fadnavis the or­gan­is­ers form a group of promi­nent peo­ple from the com­mu­nity, such as re­tired judges and pro­fes­sors, as the is­sues were legal, not emo­tional. The or­gan­is­ers said they will sub­mit a re­sponse to the state, but be­fore that, will meet on De­cem­ber 18 in Pune to dis­cuss Fadnavis’ offer.

“The most im­por­tant thing is, we have started a di­a­logue. Proper The pro­tes­tors af­ter a meet with CM Deven­dra Fadnavis in Nag­pur. dis­cus­sions are ex­pected soon,” rev­enue min­is­ter Chan­drakant Patil said in the Assem­bly.

ARIJIT SEN/HT

HT

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