Kanpur: Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal on Sunday slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party for demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the alleged coal blocks allocation scam. "BJP has no right to demand PM's resignation," he said.
Jaiswal said if the BJP has so much trust in the CAG report on the coal blocks allocation then they should also ask for the resignation of their party chief ministers from Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
The Coal Minister said the Government wants a full debate in Parliament but the BJP is avoding it as they are afraid.
Jaiswal said the Prime Minister is elected by the people of the country and no one has the right to ask for his resignation. He also claimed that the ruling alliance UPA operates in a far more transparent way than the NDA. "The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is investigating against those companies which are not found up to the mark for coal allocation. It is also probing against companies which have yet not started coal mining from mines," the Minister said.
Reiterating the Government's stand on the CAG report, Jaiswal said there is no base in the CAG report.
The Coal Minister said the Congress workers are ready to counter the BJP protest across the country. "I warn BJP to refrain from protests, they have not seen Congress workers' anger. We will not tolerate BJP workers' lawlessness," he said.
"I have asked our Congress workers to lodge FIR against BJP's unlawful protest in Kanpur," he added. Few BJP workers on Sunday, who protested outside the Coal Minister's house in Kanpur, were lathicharged by police. They were protesting against Jaiswal as he had said that all coal blocks will not be re-allocated.
On BJP senior leader LK Advani's asking for judicial inquiry into the coal blocks allocation, Jaiswal said thatAdvani has full right to ask anything, but the Government in power has the right to decide what kind of inquiry it wants.
"The BJP is trying to spread anarchy in the country," the Minister alleged.
Earlier in the day, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj dismissed reports about the BJP relenting on its demand for Prime Minister's resignation and asserted that the party would continue to seek Manmohan Singh's ouster in Parliament.
Holding a press conference in the capital, Sushma said that the Prime Minister was directly responsible for the coal blocks allocations and that he must resign if the Congress wants debate to take place in Parliament.
She said that the BJP would not demand a CBI inquiry into the matter as "it will never be independent".
At another press conference, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad made similar remarks. He said that the PM's resignation was necessary, "whether inside or outside Parliament".
The Congress, however, stuck to its guns. It dared the BJP to first ask its own Chief Ministers, who are implicated in the matter, to resign. Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said, "If the BJP takes the CAG reports that seriously, it should first ask for the resignation of the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister and cancel coal blocks allocations there."
"They must also take action against the Chief Ministers of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka," he added.