BJP criticises Sonia Gandhi's dismissal of demand for PM's resignation

New Delhi, April 23 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is very critical of Sonia Gandhi, chief of the ruling Congress party for having dismissed the opposition's demand for the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in the wake of his government's alleged attempt to influence the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) report on its investigation into how coal fields were allotted.

Union lawmaker and senior BJP leader, Ravi Shankar Prasad stated this at a news conference in New Delhi on Tuesday.

"I don't wish to comment upon the arrogant style of Sonia Gandhi, if she gave this response (refusing the demand for PM's resignation); but at least, in all humility, I would expect a reply from Sonia Gandhi," he said.

He further added, "The BJP demands that the country be told as to whether from PMO (Prime Minister's office) by certain officers, certain suggestions were given in a shape of e-mail to improve, correct or weaken the purport of the affidavit supposedly to be filed by the CBI."

"The parliamentary party (of BJP) was deeply disturbed and distressed and as the president (party chief) has also stated we will be campaigning about it in the country as a design to bring a cloud over distinguished record of Atal Bihar Vajpayee," said Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Earlier, the BJP had sought resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as well as Union Minister of Law and Justice, Ashwani Kumar on the issue of influencing the report on coal scam.

Reckoning this to be the bone of contention, the opposition had intensified its attack on the government in the Parliament.

Earlier in the day, Sonia Gandhi had given a terse response "let them ask" when asked to comment on the issue, immediately after both Houses were adjourned due to the uproar created by the opposition.

The BJP has also alleged that the PMO (Prime Minister's office) pressurised the federal probe agency, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to tone down coal scam report that it submitted to the Supreme Court.

A leading Indian daily in its report had published that Law Minister Ashwani Kumar met the Director of CBI, Ranjit Sinha, asking for changes in the CBI's report on the coal scam, to be submitted in the Supreme Court.

The government has been embroiled in the scam over allocation of coal blocks, nicknamed by the media as Coal Gate since March 2012.

Citing the observations of the country's Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) the media had indicated that coalfields were allocated without a transparent bidding process, causing a loss of 1. 86 lakh crores to the public exchequer.

Dr Manmohan Singh, who was holding the portfolio of Coal Ministry from 2006 to 2009 when most of the allocations were made, had denied any wrongdoing and pointed out that it, was his government that proposed competitive bidding.

Assailing the Congress party for dragging the name of former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in the 2G spectrum scam, Prasad said that his party would launch a nationwide campaign to expose such negative propaganda mooted by the government.

The draft report of the parliamentary panel on telecom scam of 2G spectrum allocation reportedly leaked to the media gave clean chit to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then Home (interior) Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram. (ANI)