‘PM less concerned about corruption’

NEW Delhi, February 20 (PTI): Senior BJP leader L K Advani today took a dig at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for saying that he had to make “some compromises” to run a coalition and maintained that the NDA never used such “phoney constraints” as an excuse for compromising on integrity or good governance. “The Prime Minister’s television interaction with some leading journalists last week has been disappointing. It shows much less concern about corruption than about phoney coalition constraints,” Advani wrote on his blog today.
In his first comments about the Prime Minister’s interaction with editors of news channels, Advani conceded that his party was “acutely aware” that in policy matters, coalition partners have a restraining effect. But these could not be cited as an excuse for making compromises, he said. The BJP Parliamentary Party chief claimed that had NDA’s alliance partner TDP not opposed the formation of Telangana, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government would have gone ahead with it. “If our alliance partner TDP had been agreeable, we could have with as much ease formed Telangana also. But our coalition dharma did not permit it. “But neither the Vajpayee Government, nor any other NDA Government in the states has ever allowed coalition dharma to become an alibi or excuse for compromising with integrity or good governance,” he said.
In his blog posting, Advani has also commented on the principal opposition’s campaign against corruption and Indian black money stashed in tax havens abroad. Striking an idealist note, Advani stated that candidates contesting elections should also declare whether they have any wealth abroad. “Today the election law requires every candidate for election to file his assets and liabilities. To deal with this issue of recovering Indian wealth overseas for India, let the law also obligate every candidate to declare on oath that he has no undeclared wealth overseas. The law may also empower Government to confiscate any such wealth traced by Government,” Advani said.
He suggested that the same approach may be adopted in respect of all ministers, MPs and party officials, and a specific category of the country’s affluent class. Advani argued that Congress rule during the first 30 years after independence had led to corruption which led Jai Prakash Narain to launch the campaign against the menace and unite the opposition parties. “The seeds were laid for the evolution of the bipolar polity which it has today become. It would thus be clear that the catalyst for the first major turning point in our political history was corruption,” Advani said.