“The Prime Minister must tell the nation why Alok Verma was not allowed to continue in office as CBI director for just three more weeks before he was to retire,” said the Congress on Saturday, while responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the BJP National Council on Saturday.
“It is now known that charges against Verma were frivolous, that the CVC had met Verma to intercede on behalf of the PM’s blue-eyed boy Rakesh Asthana and that the PM did not allow Verma to appear before the High Powered Committee to respond against allegations,” Congress leader Manish Tewari said at a press conference on Saturday.
“The PM must explain to the nation the reason behind the midnight coup at CBI headquarters on October 23 and come clean on the Rafale deal, which Verma was about to enquire,” the former union minister added.
Responding to the PM’s jibe that Congress-ruled state governments have been withdrawing permission to the CBI to investigate cases without their permission, Tewari said that the “CBI was still free to investigate cases” but given its crisis of credibility and gross misuse by the Modi Government, the agency needs to seek sanction of state governments before harassing people.
He pointed out that many non-BJP ruled states, including a ‘BJP friendly’ Telangana, and West Bengal, also have been forced to withdraw their general permission to the CBI.
“The UPA Government allowed the CBI a free hand to enquire against its own ministers but the NDA Government has predominantly used the agency to carry out witch-hunts against political rivals and opposition leaders,” said the Congress leader
Ridiculing the Prime Minister’s address at the BJP National Council meeting, Congress wondered why the PM failed to refer to his promise of ‘Acche Din’ even once. “While the PM dwelt at length on what happened in this country for the past 70 years, he forgot to recall the promise he had made merely 55 months ago,” he said.
“Nor did the PM refer to demonetisation , though he is on record saying that it was the most singular achievement of his government. If it were so, it is curious that he did not refer to it even once. Nor did he refer to GST, which his Government had celebrated,” said Tewari.
“But instead of dwelling on the two biggest blunders of his Government, his address dwelt on ‘what is wrong with the Congress and what is right with him,” he added.
“The PM had claimed that demonetisation had eliminated black money with the rich and had put an end to funding of terror and counterfeit notes,” said the Congress spokesman mockingly, “and yet the PM appears to have forgotten all about his achievement.”
“For Prime Minister Narendra Modi, history began in India in 2014 and development began after the NDA government came to power. Nothing happened in India before that and everything did in the last 55 months,” he said.
“Prime Minister Modi, the NDA Government and the BJP have been busy quarreling with the past for the last 55 months, oblivious to the saying that ‘ if you open a quarrel with the past, you will lose the present and the future,’ asserted the Congress leader.
He was taking a jibe at PM Modi’s comment that if only Sardar Patel had been the first Prime Minister of India, things in the country would have been different.
Tewari wished that the PM had spoken on the joblessness in the country and his own promise of generating 20 million jobs every year. “While the PM did speak of farmers,” he said, then “why the farmers across the country are restive if the NDA Government is responsive to their needs? Why are farmers sending cheques of amounts they receive by selling their produce to the PMO?”
Expressing shock at the Union Defence Minister’s claim at the BJP national council meeting that not a single major terror strike had taken place during the last 55 months, Tewari asked why the government had to undertake a surgical strike in that case.