Congress-BJP confrontation set to intensify

The confrontation between the two national parties — the Congress and the BJP — is expected to intensify, with the main Opposition seeking to take the Bofors payoffs trail “directly to the doorstep” of the Congress chief.

Battlelines have been drawn, with the BJP singularly targeting Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in a move to attract the non-Congress parties to rally round it in the battle on corruption.
On the other hand, the Congress asked the BJP “to tell the nation as to what were the impelling circumstances which made Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee directly intervene with the Prime Minister of India on behalf of some of the accused in the Bofors case”.
The BJP’s line of targeting Mrs Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was clearly spelt out at its national executive meeting held at Guwahati.
Though the Congress on Sunday hit out at the saffron party saying the latter is trying to divert attention from the “RSS’ complicity in terrorism” by levelling such accusations, the confrontation could influence the Budget Session of Parliament next month.
While the Congress allies and supporting parties are yet to react to the BJP’s attack on the top leadership of the Congress and the government, the non-NDA chief ministers and Union ministers too have not commented on the BJP yet.
From the Congress, its three spokespersons — Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Manish Tewari and Shakeel Ahmed — came down heavily on the BJP.
But it will be interesting to see how the non-UPA and non-NDA parties will take a position on the “battle on corruption” between the Congress and the BJP. The Left parties cannot afford to support the Congress, at least till the West Bengal and Kerala Assembly elections, while the AIADMK would exploit the issue to demoralise the DMK further ahead of the Tamil Nadu Assembly polls. The Biju Janata Dal, the Telugu Desam Party and the Janata Dal (U) have already been identified as the rivals in the AICC plenary held at Burari (Delhi) last month.
Among the regional parties, the Janata Dal (S) has already moved closer to the Congress in Karnataka against the ruling BJP but the BSP and the Samajwadi Party are yet to take a position.
Meanwhile, reacting sharply to BJP allegations against Mrs Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh on the Bofors and 2G spectrum issues, the Congress said the party is trying to divert attention from the “RSS’ complicity in terrorism” by levelling such accusations.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari asked the BJP whether by using the same yardstick it would say that Mr A.B. Vajpayee was “tainted by his association” for writing to the government on behalf of the Hinduja brothers.

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