Manmohan refutes cash-for-votes charges

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 28, 2011 Published on March 18, 2011

Under pressure: The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh (file photo).

The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, on Friday strongly refuted allegations of bribery during the trust vote of 2008, asserting that “no one from the Congress Party or the Government indulged in any unlawful act” during the confidence vote.

Making identical statements in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, Dr Singh hit out at the Opposition parties “for raising old charges that had been debated, discussed and rejected by the people of India.”

The Prime Minister's statement came in response to the Opposition demand for his resignation over the WikiLeaks cash-for-votes expose` by The Hindu newspaper on the alleged pay-offs to MPs for winning the July 2008 confidence vote.

“The Government rejects that allegation (cash-for-votes) absolutely and firmly,” Dr Singh said, adding that it was “most surprising that speculative, unverified and unverifiable communications should be given dignity and seized upon by the Opposition parties to revive old charges that have been soundly rejected.”

The Prime Minister also said the Government cannot confirm the veracity, contents or even the existence of the cables purportedly from the US Embassy in New Delhi to the authorities in Washington. Dr Singh also highlighted that many of the persons referred to in those reports (WikiLeaks' expose published by The Hindu newspaper) have “stoutly denied the veracity of the contents”.

Dr Singh pointed out that the UPA-I had in July 2008 won the confidence of the 14th Lok Sabha by 275 votes for and 256 votes against. The allegations of bribery were investigated by a committee constituted by the 14th Lok Sabha, which concluded that there was insufficient evidence to draw any conclusion of bribery, he added.

Dr Singh said he was disappointed that members of the Opposition had forgotten what had happened after the conclusion of the term of the 14th Lok Sabha. There was a general election and the Opposition parties had repeated their allegations of bribery in the trust vote, he said.

“How did the people respond to those allegations? The principle Opposition party, which had 138 seats in the 14th Lok Sabha, was reduced to 116 seats in the 15th Lok Sabha. The Left parties found that their tally was reduced from 59 to 24. It the Congress Party alone which increased its tally from 145 to 206, an increase of 61 seats,” Dr Singh said.

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Published on March 18, 2011
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