Congress to intensify attack on Vasundhara Raje after Advani's 'probity' remark
New Delhi: In a veiled message to the Narendra Modi-led government in the wake of a controversy over Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje, BJP patriarch LK Advani has said there was a need to maintain probity in public life and recalled how he resigned after his name cropped up in the hawala scam.
Swaraj and Raje are embroiled in a controversy over extending help to tainted former IPL boss Lalit Modi in connection with his travel documents in the UK, triggering demands by the Congress for their resignation.
Advani resigned as an MP in 1996 following allegations of his involvement in the infamous hawala scam and he was later re-elected in 1998 after his name was cleared. Entries found in the diaries of hawala broker SK Jain were presented as crucial evidences against top politicians including Advani in a court by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The hawala scam involved payments allegedly received by politicians through four brokers. The bribery scandal implicated some leading politicians.
"For a politician, to command people's trust is the biggest responsibility. What morality demands that is 'rajdharma' and need to maintain probity in public life," Advani was quoted as having told the Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika.
Reacting to Advani's remarks, Congress leader Rashid Alvi said he was showing the way to the BJP as well as the Prime Minister that those people who are "tainted" should be made to resign whether it is Raje or Swaraj or anyone else.
Advani said he did not want to comment on the controversy involving Swaraj and Raje. "I am far away from all this... So I don't have anything to comment. I am not in the decision-making and so I have no comments to offer in the matter," he added.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, made major changes in the organisational structure of the ruling party last year. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were dropped from its parliamentary board, considered to be the highest decision-making body.
Modi's rise in the BJP and his magnetism was said to have grated with some of the party's old guard.
The online edition of the daily quoted the former deputy prime minister as having said that he quit on his own after the hawala scam.
"The day allegations were raised against me based on Jain diaries that evening itself sitting in my house in Pandara road I took the decision to resign(as MP). It was no one else's decision, it was mine. Soon after, I called up (Atal Bihari) Vajapyee to inform my decision. He asked me not to resign but I did not listen to anyone," he said.
"People vote for us in elections. So commitment to the people is most important."
Asked whether resignations should be the norm, Advani said: "I can tell about myself. What others will do, what's their issues, what their problems are I don't know. And I don't want to comment on these."
On former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, who resigned following corruption charges, he said: "Since Jan Sangh era... even before that in RSS shakhas, we were taught honesty is the best virtue. There should be no compromise on corruption."