New Delhi, Sep 8 (ANI): Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni on Thursday slammed senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Lal Krishna Advani for expressing his desire to get arrested now when he was aware of the sting operation his party conducted during the 2008 cash-for-votes scam.
"I didn't hear Advani ji express his desire to be arrested in the last three years. This happened in 2008. We fought another election after that and the BJP has come out as the principal opposition. No one of them stood outside in front of Mahatma Gandhi's statue as they did today. Why were they silent all these three years?" she said.
Advani earlier in the day hailed as 'whistle- blowers' the two former party MPs jailed in connection with the cash for vote scam, and dared the government to arrest him claiming that he was aware of a sting conducted by his party in 2008 to expose the United Progressive Alliance's willingness to buy support to survive a trust vote.
Amid repeated disruptions from the Congress lawmakers in Lok Sabha, Advani made a strong defence of the two former MPs - Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Singh Bhagora Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Bhagora during the July 22, 2008 confidence vote.
"Whatever was done was done as per constitutional norms. If anything was wrong, I would have stopped them. They were whistle-blowers who honestly reported the matter in the House. They presented the money. That time I was the Leader of the Opposition and I know the facts... I believe that these two members have done a great service to democracy by bringing in Parliament the Rs one crore given to them," Advani said in the din of the House during the Question Hour.
Advani, who is also the working chairman of National Democratic Alliance (NDA), 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."
The cash-for-votes scam had rocked proceedings in the Lok Sabha in 2008, when the ruling UPA Government, led by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, allegedly bribed lawmakers of other parties to help wining the confidence vote.
Commenting on Congress President Sonia Gandhi's return from the United States after a successful surgery, Soni said: "We in the party have sincerely missed her (Sonia Gandhi) absence in more ways than one. So, we would like her to be healthy and we would like her to take on her honourist job as the Congress President and the chairperson of UPA as quickly as possible."
Sonia Gandhi returned to the national capital from abroad this morning where she underwent a surgery last month for an undisclosed ailment.
The Congress President had constituted a four-member team comprising her son and party General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, Defence Minister AK Antony, her political advisor Ahmed Patel and Janardhan Dwivedi to look after party affairs in her absence. (ANI)