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Cong Rejects Demand For PM's Resignation

New Delhi, Mar 17: Unfazed by the united Opposition attack over Wikileaks reports, Congress today dismissed demands for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's resignation, accusing its detractors of indulging in "irresponsible" politics and "destabilising" the country.

PTI Updated on: March 17, 2011 21:09 IST
cong rejects demand for pm s resignation
cong rejects demand for pm s resignation

New Delhi, Mar 17: Unfazed by the united Opposition attack over Wikileaks reports, Congress today dismissed demands for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's resignation, accusing its detractors of indulging in "irresponsible" politics and "destabilising" the country.

Hailing Singh as a "spotless Prime Minister", party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the reports on US diplomatic cables were "unverified leaks without any corroborative authentication" and "outlandish allegations not worth dignifying with a response".

He also attacked 'The Hindu' newspaper, which is publishing reports based on US diplomatic cables released by whistleblower website Wikileaks and said that his party was aware of its "legal rights" and has not closed the option to deal with the situation.

"It is irresponsible politics and it is irresponsible journalism," he said, adding that as far as the question of bringing a privilege motion or filing a defamation suit is concerned, all our legal rights are open.

"All political or other ways are open.... We are not giving clean chit to anybody," was his response when asked whether his party would file a defamation suit against the newspaper.

Singhvi maintained that "the law is not that you make an outlandish allegation and if I do not file defamation, you are correct" and rued "somebody chose to publish it as if it was gospel truth."

Singhvi said those who think that their political ratings will go up by raising such issues or those thinking that their circulation will shoot up by publishing such news should remember that UPA won in 2009 Lok Sabha elections despite "such wild allegations" levelled against it in 2007-08 as well.

Questioning NDA's "temerity" to pass a resolution seeking Prime Minister's resignation on the issue, Singhvi said, "People who dream of replacing the Prime Minister" have remained "Prime Minister in Waiting" for long.

He lambasted the BJP for "firing from the hip" without "understanding what democracy is all about and destablising the country.

"There is not an iota of proof directly or indirectly... it is an outlandish allegation not worth dignifying with a response...there are enormous factual inconsistencies in the report," he said.

Seeking to dismiss the Wikileaks reports, Singhvi, a senior lawyer, trashed it as a "subjective recording by Mr A of his conversation with B as reported to C and some times referring to D."

Asked whether the Prime Minister's image would suffer and if the party was losing ground over the issue, Singhvi said, "There is no question of losing ground. It will be underestimating common people to believe that they would go by such wild allegations".

Singhvi also criticised the BJP over its reaction on Income Tax notice to Gujarat government seeking details of the MoUs signed during a recent investment meet in the state and wondered whether the BJP ruled state is out of purview of Indian laws.

"Are the Income Tax laws not applicable to Gujarat because it is ruled by Narendra Modi and BJP. It's an example of a guilty mind always being suspicious. "There is no reply by the BJP government to the notice sent by the department yet. In a way they tried to pre-empt the move to seek information...this is climax of irresponsible politics," he said. 

Inside Parliament, government today said it can neither confirm nor deny the revelations.

After an uproar in the Rajya Sabha by opposition over the issue demanding the resignation of the government, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the cables were correspondence between a sovereign government and its mission abroad.

They enjoyed diplomatic immunity and "it is not possible for the government to either confirm it or deny it."A united opposition today demanded resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in connection with allegations of bribing MPs to win the 2008 trust vote after the Left withdrew support to the UPA-I over Indo-US nuclear deal.

Mukherjee also said the charges pertained to the 14th Lok Sabha but the government of the day was responsible to the 15th Lok Sabha.He also asked Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley whether the newspaper publication can be proved in any court of law.

Mukherjee said, "Each Lok Sabha is sovereign in its time. What happened in the 14th Lok Sabha cannot be decided in the 15th Lok Sabha...Government of the day is accountable to the 15th Lok Sabha and not to the 14th Lok Sabha. Whatever happened in the 14th Lok Sabha has come to an end" with the end of the tenure.

He also asked whether Jaitley was satisfied that "whatever has appeared in newspaper report is admissible in the court of law?"

Seeking clarification on Mukherjee's statement, Jaitley said, "If what has appeared (in the newspaper) is correct, it is a commission of offence in India."

He said diplomatic immunity may be available to the US diplomats but the same cannot be claimed for offences like "bribery" committed by Indians in the country.

He disagreed with Mukherjee's contention on the issue of accountability of then government (UPA-1) to the present Lok Sabha. "All these factors do not apply when the offence was committed outside the House," he said.

Jaitley alleged, "you are guilty of cover", which prompted a sharp reaction from Mukherjee, who retorted, "If you have the courage, go to court."

Meanwhile, Congress today slammed BJP and other parties for disrupting Parliament over the issue, claiming "the whole world has rejected the Wikileaks reports".

"The whole world has rejected the Wikileaks reports. Because if a diplomat is writing to his own sovereign government I do not think any government can take responsibility for it," Congress leader Rajeev Shukla said, and demanded an apology from the opposition members for their conduct in Parliament.

Parliament was disrupted over the leaked US diplomatic cables about alleged payoffs to win trust vote in 2008 with Opposition demanding resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"You cannot stall the functioning of Parliament for this and you are not letting the Minister speak. Opposition particularly BJP should tender an apology to the government for its conduct in the House," Shukla told reporters outside Parliament.

He said, "These are (Wikileaks cables) internal communications between the embassies and their respective governments. These are diplomatic channels. How can other government take responsibility for that," he asked. PTI

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