Prime Minister Narendra Modi backs Arun Jaitley against corruption charges

New Delhi: In a strong show of support for Arun Jaitley, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the Finance Minister will come through 'with flying colours' against charges of corruption levelled against him by the opposition in a same way L K Advani did in the Hawala case.

Arun Jaitley
Arun Jaitley

Batting for Jaitley, accused by Congress and AAP of financial irregularities in Delhi cricket body when he headed it, Modi hit out at Congress at BJP's parliamentary party meeting for levelling 'wrong and manufactured' allegations to 'defame' the government.

At the parliamentary party, no reference was made to similar charges made by BJP MP Kirti Azad, who was not present in the meeting today.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu quoted Modi as having said that BJP leaders like Sushma Swaraj, Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Vasundhara Raje had similarly faced such "wrong" charges from Congress earlier.

"The Prime Minister gave the example of L K Advani. The government at that time tried to implicate him in the Hawala case. Advani came through with flying colours and the strategy of Congress boomeranged. Same thing is going to happen regarding allegations against Jaitley... Congress is inventing issue to defame the government," Naidu said.

Advani and a number of other leaders were investigated by CBI during the Congress government headed by P V Narasimha Rao. Advani had resigned from Lok Sabha in 1996 after allegations were levelled against him in the hawala case. The case, however, later collapsed due to lack of evidence.

BJP has rallied around Jaitley as Congress and AAP have tried to corner him over the issue and demanded his resignation. Party chief Amit Shah issued a strong statement in his support yesterday.

A number of Union Ministers had also joined Jaitley, a key party strategist, in a court where he had filed defamation cases against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders.

Aiming to take the battle to the opposition, BJP MPs of the Lok Sabha will be spending one night in each assembly constituency in their seat to spread awareness about the "good work" being done by the Modi government and the opposition's campaign to "defame" it. This will be done in January, Naidu said.

BJP's Lok Sabha MPs will do a similar reach-out exercise in February in a neighbouring constituency, Naidu said, adding that party's Rajya Sabha members will do it in constituencies where the party had lost in the general election last year. The entire country will be covered by this, Naidu said.

Modi asked MPs to reach out to masses to highlight the welfare works being done by the government which is committed to the poor, downtrodden, youth and women, he said.

The Prime Minister said Congress had not been able to accept its massive defeat in the elections last year and was trying to bring a bad name to his government.

With the Winter Session coming to an end tomorrow, Naidu sought Congress' cooperation in the passage of "important" bills stuck in the Rajya Sabha where work has been often disrupted due to protests from its members over a host of issues.

The Parliamentary Affairs Minister cited The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, which could not be passed in the Upper House due to disruption from Congress despite being listed on the agenda in the Monsoon Session as well as the ongoing session.

Congress raised the issue of the bill being not listed yesterday because of public protests over the December 16 gangrape case, in which the juvenile convict has been released, he said, adding that the government immediately put it on supplementary agenda.

There are six important bills stuck in the House, he said, citing those on GST, real estate, arbitration, sugar cess and anti-hijacking.

BJP MPs were also asked to observe good governance day on December 25, birth day of party stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee. They have been asked to take part in service and welfare works and also tell people about the achievement of the NDA government headed by Vajpayee and the current dispensation, he told reporters.

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