Date:06/11/2005 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2005/11/06/stories/2005110604680800.htm
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National

BJP holds protest to seek Natwar's resignation

Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party's State unit on Saturday held a protest demonstration in the capital demanding the resignation of Union External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh. They burnt an effigy of Congress president Sonia Gandhi in front of the BJP headquarters here.

Demanding the resignation of Mr. Singh in the light of his indictment by the Volcker report on the oil-for-food programme during the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, the BJP leaders accused the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government at the Centre of behaving in an arbitrary manner "hurting the pride of the nation."

Nationwide stir

Calling the scandal as "corruption at the highest level" the protest march — slated to proceed towards Ms. Gandhi's residence but was stopped at Ashoka Road itself — is part of the first phase of a nationwide agitation launched by the BJP to put pressure on Mr. Singh to resign.

Addressing the protestors at the rally, Delhi BJP president Harsh Vardhan said: "The Congress party has for long cheated the people and this accusation by an international agency of repute has brought shame to the entire country. The nation's pride has been hurt and we demand that Mr. Singh be asked to resign immediately. We also understand that it isn't just Mr. Singh who is part of this scam but even Ms. Gandhi is involved in the entire deal.

Demanding that the Congress take responsibility for the action of its senior leaders instead of "trying to buy time and dilute the issue," BJP's national vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it was time the Congress paid attention to the "international humiliation" that the report had brought upon India.

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