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PM denies ‘cash for votes’, says no proof found
New Delhi, MAR 18 (AGENCIES):
Published on 19 Mar. 2011 1:09 AM IST
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday appeared to raise doubts over the veracity of diplomatic correspondence cited by the WikiLeaks and insisted that he had “not authorised anybody” to purchase votes nor was he involved in any such “transactions”. Under fire from the Opposition, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh defended the government in Parliament on Friday saying that no evidence was found in the cash-for-votes scam.
“I think, people who are affected by them (Wikileaks expose), they have already commented on them, casting serious doubts about the veracity of allegations made in these diplomatic dispatches,” Singh said while commenting on the WikiLeaks expose which alleged that MPs were purchased during the 2008 trust vote.
“It is unfortunate that the opposition continues to raise the charges that are rejected by the people of India earlier,” he said.
“I have no knowledge of any such purchases and I am absolutely categorical, I have not authorised anyone to purchase any votes. I am not aware of any acts of purchase of votes,” he said while replying to questions at the India Today Summit. “I am absolutely certain in asserting that I am not at all, I think, involved in any of these transactions,” the Prime Minister insisted.
His response, however, did not categorically clarify whether or not the purchases took place at all during the Confidence Motion on July 22, 2008.
“As far as the events of the last few days (are concerned) and the so-called Wikileaks, I would not like to comment,” Singh said about the Opposition onslaught on the government following the WikiLeaks expose.
“I would not like to comment on what we are going to do right now or in days to come. These are the matters which are being discussed in Parliament. If I have anything to say, we would say in Parliament first,” he said.
The prime minister’s statement has intensified the confrontation between the government and Opposition further with the BJP threatening a privilege motion against Manmohan Singh.
Within moments of the prime minister’s statement it was clear that the uproar over WikiLeaks would not die soon. Both houses were adjourned.
T“PM is liable for breach of privilege for his comments on the committee,” said Sushma Swaraj.
The congress too has decided to move a privilege motion against Sushma Swaraj for repeatedly defying the speaker. With both the government and the Congress in a combative mood, the high decibel drama is likely to continue.
“BJP appears to be suffering from lack of direction, issues and a selective loss of memory. Why are they jumping about this so called leaks not owned by anybody, not verified by anybody,” said Congress leader Anand Sharma.
The prime minister’s statement gives an indication that the Congress is hoping for a good result in its favour in the Assembly elections and will use that advantage to neutralise the Opposition tirade.
The Left will use this during Assembly election campaigns to drive home their point that Manmohan Singh is too close the Americans.
Even the Opposition is perhaps aware that the Wikileaks lacks credibility as evidence but it can be used as a poll weapon in the elections.

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