Since Independence, the Indian democratic system and the Constitution have never been under so much strain, except for the short period of emergency in 1975. At that time, Mrs. Gandhi used one of the articles of the Constitution to technically do what was clearly unacceptable and improper. However, she was bold enough to face the consequences and call elections, which she lost. This Government is not bold enough to take any such steps. However, they are trying to dilute every authority, every institution under the Constitution in the most shameful manner. The Congress Party wants the Comptroller and the Auditor General’s (CAG) report to be discussed in Parliament – that is currently the latest topic of discussion. This is very funny, because the CAG is an auditor. He sends the draft report to the concerned Ministry. The Ministry sends its reply, after which he gives the finding. The CAG’s Report is final. It is the finding of the Comptroller and the Auditor General. It is not a matter of debate, it is like a judgement. Tomorrow, High Court and Supreme Court judgements will start being debated on the floor of the house. Parliament is not meant for this. In fact, this is not the function of Parliament. I was surprised to find member after member in the Congress saying that we are prepared to discuss the CAG Report. And the BJP was not even giving the factual reply that the CAG Report is not a matter to be discussed and under Parliamentary procedure, CAG Reports are referred to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Committee on Public Undertakings and Estimate Committee. Why? Because they are small bodies, where all parties are represented. They can study the matter and suggest further action. But they cannot negate the report and even the Public Accounts Committee has no business to challenge the CAG. The CAG has given his findings. They are his independent findings, he is a statutory authority who cannot be removed except by a two-third majority of the both Houses of Parliament. That is the importance that has been given to CAG by Dr. Ambedkar whom the Congress is always trying to lionise. Dr. Ambedkar, Jawaharlal Nehru, etc., have given a position of eminence, of unimpeachability to the CAG. Nobody can touch the CAG. And the Congress, by saying every day that we are prepared to discuss the report tried to undermine the position and authority of the CAG. Their purpose was very clear. They wanted to discuss the CAG Report, sling mud at the CAG, sling mud at the BJP. The latter is ok — you can trade charges among political parties. But attempting to dilute the report of the CAG is most reprehensible.
This government is doing nothing except collecting money and the Opposition is doing nothing because the irony is that on most of issues the views of the BJP are the same as that of the Congress. That is why the Congress is taking pride in saying that even the BJP CM’s were against the coal auctions. That does not absolve the Congress of its responsibility. But the BJP has to retrospect if they want to be the major Opposition party. If you want to replace the Congress in power, you have to change your old style, your old substance, the old faces which you have put before the public.
The second point which is being missed is that the BJP asked resignation of Manmohan Singh. For what? Because he was the Coal Minister at the time when this event happened. Even today, Manmohan Singhji is still responsible for what happened at that time. Lal Bahadur Shastri resigned because of the Ariyalur rail accident; nobody said that the accident had occurred because of him. He resigned because he thought that it was improper for him to continue if such things were happening when he was in charge. With his record, the minimum that a person like me expected was that Manmohan Singhji should offer his resignation in one minute. He should have said, I don’t want to hear all this. If the CAG says that it happened under my Ministry, I don’t want to remain the Prime Minister. I have not heard that he offered to resign. It is for others to say that you need not resign. The Congress party has got hard work to do. If they want Manmohan Singh to stay, they are too late. They should have done something to see that the CAG is not so hard on them. Having failed to do that, after this Report, why can’t they appoint somebody else as the Prime Minister?
The Opposition is not asking for elections, they are asking for Manmohan Singh’s removal, which is a natural thing. Not because he has done something wrong, and because the CAG has commented adversely, though they are good enough reasons. Immediately, Manmohan Singhji should have resigned on moral grounds. Sonia Gandhi, and the Congress party are free to act. Sonia Gandhi can herself become Prime Minister, she can make Rahul Gandhi Prime Minister, she can choose any other senior cabinet colleague. But inaction is unacceptable. And the BJP unfortunately doesn’t look like a major Opposition party any more. At least, Atalji and Advaniji were persons of stature. Now, we have pygmies in the BJP, who don’t even know what is the role of the Government or the role of the BJP. Make all the points if you want Manmohan Singhji to resign on moral grounds. Even now, it is high time Sonia Gandhi takes matters into her own hands. She has suddenly become proactive. We have seen her functioning in the Lok Sabha recently. She must get the best brains together and find a decent constitutional, democratic way out of this impasse.
The BJP is looking like a pale shadow of itself. There was a time when the two stalwarts, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L. K. Advani were enough to take a firm stand, so much so that in the Emergency they went to jail. Now Atalji is unwell. Advaniji is on the sidelines, at the instigation of the RSS. Leaders like Mr. Gadkari have no support, no understanding and no world view of national politics to be able to take a stand. It appears that the RSS, which is a parent body of the BJP, wants to function like a federal party with all Chief Ministers directly reporting to the RSS.
With his record, the minimum that a person like me expected was that Manmohan Singhji should offer his resignation in one minute. He should have said, I don’t want to hear all this. If the CAG says that it happened under my Ministry, I don’t want to remain the Prime Minister.
The RSS has got a vested interest in having a weak central leadership of the BJP so that they can get their work done through the Chief Ministers, and needless to say, what Chief Ministers can deliver is only on the financial side for their fixed term. Either the BJP is serious about playing the role of the main Opposition and aspiring to come to power in 2014, or they should appoint Mr. Advani with unfettered powers to take on the Government, helped by Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha who are the other two senior people who can be of some help. I do not understand what kind of message you are giving by appointing much more junior people to hold important positions when they can’t take a stand. Recently, it was heard that they want to resign en masse as Mr. V. P. Singh resigned and accomplished where the writ of one party was not even running. But it forced Rajiv Gandhi to act –and I must give credit to Rajiv Gandhi for that — he dissolved the Lok Sabha and held Elections. Its a different matter that he lost. Here we have a government where the moment the suggestion for resignations has come, I have read in the papers that they will hold 114 by-elections to fill up the vacancies caused by the resignations. And look at their logic — even if all the seats are lost, the BJP is not the gainer and we can get some seats and the Congress will gain. We are talking like petty ‘Baniyas’, not like political people or statesmen. Congress is now being run probably by corporate bodies, who are calculating profit and loss every day. They don’t know the minds of the people. They should take lessons from Indira Gandhi who, on the issue of Emergency, was decisively swept out of power. I am shocked that none of the other parties within this NDA combine has any logic. Advaniji said that in the next elections maybe the Congress and the BJP will not be in a position to form a government. They fully realise that if there is a government of small parties, BJP will have a small role to play. But that is realism. What is the reaction style of the BJP ? ‘No, No, No, No, it is already decided that smaller parties and CM’s have never succeeded’. What is success when compared to, or measured with tenure ? Even a manager of an orphanage can stay for 10 years. So just because Manmohan Singh has completed 8 years it means that is he is successful. Says who? In one year, the Prime Minister can accomplish a lot. Mr. V. P. Singh was the Prime Minister for 11 months. He has changed ‘backward’ politics for ever. Chandra Shekharji was the Prime Minister for 6 months. He has taken major decisions with respect to the country’s economy and it is not the length of the period that mattered. It is what you do in the period when you are in power that matters. This government is doing nothing except collecting money and the Opposition is doing nothing because the irony is that on most of issues the views of the BJP are the same as that of the Congress. That is why the Congress is taking pride in saying that even the BJP CM’s were against the coal auctions. That does not absolve the Congress of its responsibility. But the BJP has to retrospect if they want to be the major Opposition party. If you want to replace the Congress in power, you have to change your old style, your old substance, the old faces which you have put before the public.
What Is Correct?
Our Government is supreme and our Rajya Sabha even more supreme. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) was appointed in accordance with the constitutional system and the oath of the CAG is taken in the same way as that of the President of the country or the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The CAG can be removed only through impeachment. The present Government has not only held the important recommendations of the CAG to be invalid but has also held them to be wrong, and the spokesperson for the Congress has said that CAG has the hobby of increasing the number of zeros. The reports sent by the CAG related to the Common Wealth Games, 2G Spectrum and now Coal have been rejected by the Government. Finance Minister Chidambaram clearly said that the reports on Coal given by the CAG are not correct. Then what is correct ? The Government needs to impose impeachment on the CAG and remove him ; if the Government does not impose impeachment on the CAG then the country will believe that the Government wants to destroy this Constitutional post. However, the people of the country believe that the reports given by the CAG are correct.
To praise the supremacy of the Rajya Sabha is even more shameful. When Chauthi Duniya had published the report of the Ranganath Mishra Commission, then the Rajya Sabha had sent us a breach of privilege notice. We sent a constitutionally conformable answer to this; now the Government on the 23 August said in the Supreme Court that they had given a wrong statement in the Rajya Sabha. They stated the correct position in the Supreme Court. It means that in the view of this Government, there is no value and importance of the Rajya Sabha, as the process of answering in the Supreme Court starts quite a few weeks earlier. And when the Government came to know that they had given a wrong statement in the Rajya Sabha, the Government should have come first of all to the Rajya Sabha and informed the House that they had intentionally given the wrong statements. The Government did not do this, but the impotent and the spineless members of the Rajya Sabha did not ask for any clarification either from the Government for the intentionally stated wrong statements in order to protect the pride of the House. If the Government would not have been bound to answer in the Supreme Court, then this lie of the Government would never have come in front of the country. Will the supreme members of the Rajya Sabha and the supreme Chairman of the Rajya Sabha be able to show the same kind of guts, by giving a notice to the Government for giving wrong statements, which they showed during the case of Chauthi Duniya?