2:01 am - Sunday January 20, 2019

BJP says it’s disgusted with Jairam Ramesh’s ‘dirty remark’ on Narendra Modi

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Don't make fun of Aam Aadmi Party, says Union minister Jairam Ramesh
Don't make fun of Aam Aadmi Party, says Union minister Jairam Ramesh

Union minister Jairam Ramesh, known for a long-running feud with Narendra Modi, has hit below the belt with his latest jibe against the Gujarat Chief Minister, the BJP says.

Mr Ramesh today said that Mr Modi, who is the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, is on shaky ground when he accuses the government of saturnine attempts to get the new anti-corruption Lokpal Bill enacted as a law. “This is like Asaram talking about virginity,” the minister said, referencing the controversial spiritual leader who is now in jail on charges of sexual assault.

Mr Ramesh’s analogy is reprehensible, said the BJP. “We condemn Jairam Ramesh’s dirty remark on Modi. It’s shameful,” said party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar.

Mr Ramesh reinforced the point his party often makes – that Gujarat was left without an ombudsman or Lokayukta for nearly 10 years till January, when Mr Modi lost a legal battle to block the candidate recommended by the Governor of the state. The candidate, Justice RA Mehta, eventually refused to accept the appointment because he said his credibility had been questioned by the government. The post still lies vacant.

The government says it will push hard to ensure Parliament clears the Lokpal Bill in this session, which ends on Friday.

The need for a Lokpal or national ombudsman was championed originally by activist Anna Hazare and his protege Arvind Kejriwal. Anna, 76, is on the seventh day of a hunger strike; he says he will not eat till the law is enacted. Though he has approved of the government’s version, Mr Kejriwal has described the avatar of the Bill now being considered by Parliament as too weak “to lead to the arrest of even a mouse.”

Mr Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party contested its first ever election in November in Delhi, promising to combat corruption. Voters rewarded it lavishly, pushing the party into second place in Delhi, a spectacular debut for the political start-up.

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