July 17, 2018

Congress tells Shah: Time to apologise

New Delhi: The Congress has questioned BJP president Amit Shah’s faith in the constitutional culture, asking whether he knows that poaching attracts the anti-defection law irrespective of whether MLAs are hidden in a hotel or roaming in the market.

Responding to Shah’s lament that the Congress had kept the MLAs in protective custody in a hotel outside Karnataka, Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said: “They are Congress MLAs. When we know the BJP has the expertise in stealing — they have stolen our entire government in Arunachal Pradesh — should we allow them to roam in the market? But the question is that there is anti-defection law in the country. Has Shah heard of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution?”

Sharma added: “They have no sense of shame. Instead of sermonising, Shah should have tendered an apology. The whole world saw the naked lust for power. So many tapes of bribe offers were released… two MLAs were brought by the police at the last minute…. They are now complaining we didn’t allow them to poach. The BJP invited ridicule upon themselves, they blackened their own face.”

The Tenth Schedule of the Constitution lays down the process by which legislators are disqualified on the ground of defection. An MP or MLA is considered to have defected if he had either voluntarily resigned from his party or disobeyed the directives of the party leadership on a vote. A party can merge with another if at least two-thirds of its legislators support the move. The law initially permitted vertical split in parties but even that has now been outlawed.

The Congress spokesperson asked: “What would have the BJP done had we not protected the MLAs? If they planned to make a few resign, the question would arise — why should someone quit soon after getting elected? The only reason could be bribe or other forms of allurements. Is the ruling party chief presenting these tactics as legitimate political tools? This exposes their double standard and immorality.”

Alleging that the BJP spent Rs 6,500 crore on the Karnataka elections, Sharma said: “Let there be an independent investigation on who spent how much. Where from this money came? The BJP shouts against black money but they are the ‘black money kuber’. Narendra Modi and Shah think Indians are fools. But people have seen the unprecedented use of money and attempts to subvert democracy.”

On the charge of violating the spirit of the mandate, Sharma said: “The Congress alone got more votes than the BJP. Together with the JDS, we have 21 per cent more votes than the BJP. We came together for secularism but what ideological affinity the BJP had with the PDP in Kashmir? What did the BJP do in Bihar where Nitish Kumar and Modi fought a bitter personal battle, questioning each other’s DNA?”

Responding to Shah’s contention that the Congress did not stake claim in Goa and Manipur despite being the single largest party, Sharma said: “The BJP’s philosophy changes according to situations. And why did the governor not invite the single largest party to form the government? As soon as the results came, the BJP started poaching MLAs. It is like justifying burglary because the person who owned the house did not return home in time. It is illogical.”

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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