Plan to pressure BJP

The Congress-led UPA, with Wednesday’s arrest of former telecom minister A. Raja in connection with the alleged 2G spectrum scam, indicated tough action against Commonwealth Games organising committee former chairman and MP Suresh Kalmadi in the CWG messup.
UPA and government strategists are playing their cards shrewdly not only to puncture the Opposition’s “JPC Brahmastra” but to divide their unity in Parliament on this issue by taking action against the guilty. This would mount pressure on the main Opposition BJP to show similar courage in removing Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa if it is really committed to values in public life.
“If we can remove Ashok Chavan and A. Raja, and drop Suresh Kalmadi from his CPP post, why can’t the BJP? What is the compulsion... pressure,” Congress officials are asking. But its allies in the UPA are not showing the same enthusiasm. In fact, the Trinamul Congress, NCP and National Conference have so far not reacted to Mr Raja’s arrest.
The BJP’s main target is Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who the main Opposition feels had ignored the allegations of corruption against Mr Raja. AICC general secretary in charge of party affairs in Tamil Nadu and Union minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Wednesday night that Mr Raja’s arrest would not affect the Congress-DMK alliance, which is based on policies and programmes.
The government and the Congress’ main agenda is to run the two Houses of Parliament in the Budget Session after the entire Winter Session was washed out due to Opposition demands for a JPC into the alleged 2G scam. This is possible only by taking action against the accused. “Jaanch hogi, action bhi hoga (There will be an investigation, and there will be action too),” said a senior Congress official.
Asked what is the stand of the Congress on the Opposition’s JPC probe demand in the changing scenario, party officials said the picture could become clear after the February 8 meeting of floor leaders called by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.
The BJP, AIADMK, TDP and BJD could sharpen their attack on the government and the Congress on this issue for different reasons. While the AIADMK would try to exploit the Raja issue to fix the rival DMK in the coming Tamil Nadu Assembly polls, the BJP, TDP and BJD are anti-Congress parties in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.
The Left parties would exploit the issue to embarrass the Trinamul Congress in West Bengal and the Congress in the Kerala Assembly polls. The Left parties have been pressing for a JPC probe but their stand on allowing Parliament to function is not clear. CPI national secretary D. Raja said, “The arrest (of Mr Raja) was expected. This is just the beginning. The arrest can trigger a series of questions on the role of the PMO and previous telecom ministers.”

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