Cash-for-votes: Advani dares govt to 'put me in jail'
BJP today went on the offensive on the cash-for-vote scam with LK Advani hailing as 'whistle- blowers' the two former party MPs jailed in the scam and declaring that if they are guilty then he too should be sent behind bars.
The cash-for-vote scam rocked both houses of parliament on Thursday with the BJP objecting to the arrest of two of its former MPs - both of whom were "whistleblowers". The party demanded a suspension of question-hour to discuss the issue.
The highlight of the ruckus was senior BJP leader LK Advani's challenge to the government to arrest him in the cash-for-votes scam. Advani said if his ex-MPs were guilty, he was too. The two arrested ex-MPs and one current MP turned up in Parliament on 22 July 2008 with wads of cash allegedly given to them to get them to vote for the UPA in the confidence vote.
Following the arrest of Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh and two of BJP's former MPs, Advani, speaking in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, claimed that his party MPs did the right thing in the cash-for votes scam.
"Whatever the MPs did was right. If the BJP MPs have been arrested in the cash-for-votes then I should also be arrested. If you have arrested them, put me also in jail," said Advani in the Lok Sabha after the House reconvened following an hour-long adjournment on the scam.
Raising the issue on the last day of the tumultuous Monsoon session of Parliament, Advani insisted that it was evident during the Confidence Vote that the government was "trying to purchase votes".
Amar Singh was arrested on Monday for allegedly bribing three BJP MPs in July 2008 to help the government during a trust vote.The BJP says these MPs were exposing the government's willingness to buy support and are now being punished for being whistle-blowers.
"I believe that these two members have done a great service to democracy by bringing in Parliament the Rs one crore given to them," he said during Zero Hour. He lamented that those who voted for the government "through dishonesty" by taking money are sitting here comfortably, "but my two friends who honestly served the country are in jail."
Adavani has now told the government to hold him responsible for the sting operation and arrest him as well.
Advani had given a notice for suspension of Question Hour in the Lok Sabha to discuss the new developments in the case.
A similar notice was given in the Rajya Sabha by BJP member Ravi Shankar Prasad.
When the Lok Sabha met for the day, Speaker Meira Kumar read out a statement on Literacy Day and its significance and then took up the Question Hour.
But Advani stood up and raised his hand for permission to speak. When the Chair did not allow him, other BJP members, along with NDA ally JD-U, protested.
In the din, Advani said two of his former MPs – Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Singh Bhagora - have been sent to jail though they were whistleblowers in the scam.
Parliament was adjourned till 12pm and it later resumed. The Lok Sabha was adjourned again till 12:45pm. Thursday is the last day of the monsoon session of Parliament.
Watch video:Advani dares Govt to arrest him
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