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PM asks Advani to wait for his chance
Published on 24 Mar. 2011 12:35 AM IST
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday took a dig at LK Advani, saying the BJP leader had not forgiven him for becoming the prime minister after the 2009 Lok Sabha elections and asked the octogenarian leader to wait for a few more years for his next opportunity.
"Advaniji believes that prime ministership is his birthright. He has not forgiven me," said Manmohan Singh in his replying to the discussion on WikiLeaks expose of US diplomatic cables that claimed a Congress party leader had amassed several crores of Indian rupees to win over opposition MPs during the July 2008 trust vote of the UPA-I government.
"All I want to say is that the people of India have voted us in a free and fair election. Please wait for another three-and-half-years for your next opportunity," he said.
The unusually combative prime minister's remarks brought smiles on the faces of Congress MPs, who thumped their desks in affirmation. The BJP benches, on the other hand, were stunned into silence by the unexpected offensive from the prime minister. Manmohan Singh said he was not new to opposition attacks and that he had faced it as the finance minister in 1991 and later as prime minister since 2004.
"This is not the first time I am facing in my public career opposition onslaught of this type. I have faced it as finance minister and prime minister. The main opposition fought the 2004 and 2009 elections adopting this attitude," he said.
After the WikiLeaks' expose of the US embassy cables on the July 2008 trust vote episode, former deputy prime minister Advani had led his party in asking for the prime minister's resignation.
Advani was also in the forefront of his party's election campaigns in both 2004 and 2009, and has frequently attacked Manmohan Singh as the "weakest prime minister". The BJP veteran also criticised Manmohan Singh on his control over the council of ministers, alluding to the political power that Congress president Sonia Gandhi wielded.
In both, 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha polls, Advani was projected by the BJP as it prime ministerial candidate.
Advani at the centre of entire ‘drama’: Sibal
PTI adds: HRD Minister Kapil Sibal today sought to turn tables on the BJP on the cash-for-vote scam in the Lok Sabha by saying a senior leader from the opposition party had charged LK Advani with being at the ‘’centre’’ of the entire ‘’drama’’.
Intervening in the debate, Sibal recalled an interview by senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh to a news magazine in 2009 in which he had blamed BJP Parliamentary Party Chairman LK Advani for being behind the cash-for-vote scam.
The Union Minister quoted from the interview in which Singh had claimed: “Here was a man who was consumed by an ambition to be Prime Minister...Advaniji was at the centre of this whole drama...”
Sibal said while BJP was targetting the UPA government on WikiLeaks, “your people are accusing your own party.”
He also referred to another WikiLeak expose quoting a diplomatic cable in which some BJP leaders had reportedly said that the party’s opposition to the Indo-US nuclear deal was only meant for public consumption.
Sibal said Advani had himself stated both inside and outside Parliament that if BJP returns to power in 2009, it will renegotiate the nuclear deal, but according to leaked diplomatic cable the party veteran was against doing so as he believed that governments should work in continuity.
“If we can’t believe Advaniji, how can we believe WikiLeaks,” Sibal said amid protests by opposition benches.
Accusing BJP of “doublespeak”, he said speaking in different languages has been the main opposition party’s policy throughout.
Participating in the debate, Yashwant Sinha (BJP) said the government had no “moral right” to continue in power after the WikiLeak expose. He said the government should not try to downplay the cable as former US Ambassador to New Delhi David Mulford has gone on record to confirm that such a cable exists and it was indeed sent by the embassy here.
“The telegram (cable) is contemporary and corroborates what most feel actually happened in this House,” he said.
He also wanted to know whether US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had actually called External Affairs Minister SM Krishna to inform that India should be prepared for “embarrassment” following leakage of US diplomatic cables.

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