New Delhi: The UPA-II is facing its toughest hour as it comes under attack from the Opposition for various scams rocking the coalition government.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is perceived as personally honest, but unable to tackle a barrage of corruption allegations plaguing the government’s coalition partners has been asked many times to step down.
Here are the 10 reasons why his detractors want him to go:
1. Cash-for-votes scandal
The Op-position cornered the Con-gress-led United Pro-gressive Alliance government in both Houses of Parliament on March 17 over the WikiLeaks cables, which claim that the ruling alliance paid some MPs to vote in favor of the trust vote on the Indo-US nuclear deal in July 2008 during its first term. There was ruckus in Parliament over the publication of India cables of WikiLeaks in The Hindu with Opposition MPs demanding the resignation of the Manmohan Singh government over the alleged cash-for-vote scam.
2. Appointment of CVC
P. J. Thomas
Congress dubbed as an “error” the appointment of P J Thomas as CVC, but rejected demands for the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling quashing Thomas’ appointment to the post pending investigation into a corruption scandal where Thomas’ name figures.
3. Failing to tackle
In what is being dubbed as a season of scams, the government has been under attack from several parties demanding that the Prime Minister accept responsibility for the various scams. The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad held a demonstration before Parliament protesting what they termed the growing political corruption in the country.
4. 2G scam
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pre-sident Nitin Gadkari has demanded the resignation of Singh in connection with the 2G spectrum scam saying the Prime Minister had lent support to the scamsters by choosing to “look the other way.”
5. CWG scam
The BJP has said “directly or indirectly” the permission for CWG projects came from Singh’s office. Gadkari drew the Prime Minister’s attention to the steep escalation in the budgetary provisions for the CWG overlays asking who was responsible for approving the advance of over Rs. 1,669 crore for the CWG Organizing Committee and another Rs. 687 crore for overlay (temporary fittings and fixtures) of which Rs. 557 crore was actually disbursed.
6. Joint Parliamentary Committee
The BJP has said that the Prime Minister’s post should be above suspicion and he should form a JPC to probe the 2G scam. If he didn’t have answers to Opposition concerns, then he should quit his post on moral grounds. The winter session of Parliament was washed away by Opposi-tion demands of constituting a JPC which the government relented to eventually.
7. Food inflation
The BJP held wide-scale protests denouncing steep price rises, demanding the Congress-led government quit over food inflation. Their demonstration underscored how inflation is stoking public anger against the government and revitalizing the Bharatiya Janata Party a year after it lost a general election to Congress Party. The BJP sees rising prices for grains, sugar and lentils denting Congress’s fortunes before eight state elections this year with government supporters in poorer, rural India feeling the pinch.
8. Fuel price rise
A series of fuel price rises triggered a widening call for the PM to step down failing to address the concerns of common citizens as fuels get more expensive. The Opposition has held widespread protests and demanded a rollback in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. The Left parties met separately followed by those with other secular parties to press their common cause.
9. Black money issue
The Op-position has lambasted the government for failing to take on crooks, who parked “black money” overseas. With the arrest of Hasan Ali Khan, who has been charged with money laundering, the Opposition has stepped up its demand to take stern action against people having black money in foreign banks as shared by German authorities. The BJP accused Singh of “conspiracy of silence” and claimed that 147 countries were signatories to the UN Convention on Corruption, which would enable the government to disclose names of Indians, who had put away their black money abroad. However, India under the present UPA government has not signed the convention.
10. Devas-Antrix deal
The Prime Minister was criticized for allowing allocation of S-band spectrum without any bidding to ISRO by an agreement. The agreement was between Devas multimedia, a private firm and Antrix Corporation, a commercial wing of ISRO. The government scrapped the controversial deal to avoid the loss of Rs. 2 lakh crore to the exchequer.