Thursday, Aug 29, 2002
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By Our Special Correspondent
The BJP indirectly blamed the Congress and specifically its president, Sonia Gandhi, for the Government's decision against promulgation of an ordinance to back up the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee's order cancelling the allotments made after January 2000.
However, the Congress said the court order had vindicated its stand that an executive order cancelling allotments should have come after an inquiry. The Government would have known that without a proper inquiry the party beneficiaries could get relief from the courts, as has happened. The cancellation order was just a political drama, it added.
While preferring not to make any comment on the interim order, the BJP spokesperson, Arun Jaitley, said the Congress president, on August 23, had written to the Prime Minister strongly opposing any proposal for an ordinance on this matter. "The Petroleum Ministry was seriously considering an ordinance till Ms. Gandhi wrote the letter to say her party was opposed to it,'' he added.
He said the party's stance was hypocritical it alleged that allotments of pumps had been made to favour the ruling BJP members and leaders, and when the Prime Minister wanted these cancelled and the decision backed by legislation, the Congress opposed it.
However, the BJP did not respond to the Congress demand for a CBI or a judicial inquiry into the allotments and the Petroleum Minister, Ram Naik's resignation.
Mr. Jaitley said an inquiry would have been long-winded and would not have served the purpose, but an ordinance or legislation would have prevented the courts from granting a stay against the cancellation.
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