New Delhi: The Congress on Sunday ducked the Samajwadi Party criticism as the latter hit back at Congress President Sonia Gandhi for writing a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to look into the suspension of IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal by the SP-led Uttar Pradesh government.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid defended the government and said it does not decide on transfers or suspensions. “We do not decide transfers or suspensions. That comes under the state government. But if we get a notice or someone approaches us with a problem, we can certainly look into it,” he said.
Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal, however, said, “We can’t compare Khemka’s case with Durga Nagpal’s case.”
Congress leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi Rita Bahuguna Joshi said IAS officer Durga Nagpal fought the sand mafia very bravely. “I want the Chief Minister to look into this whole issue again. He should rectify his mistake.” She also said, “SP leader Narendra Bhati passed on wrong information and he should be punished.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party also slammed Sonia saying she does not need to write to the Prime Minister, she needs to talk to him. BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, “Sonia Gandhi need not write to the PM. She needs to talk to him and ask him to intervene. And I think Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is making more mistakes by trying to cover this one up. There is still time to rectify those mistakes and reinstate Durga Shakti Nagpal.”
The SP had on Saturday asked Sonia why she was silent when IAS officer Ashok Khemka was being targeted for speaking against her son-in-law Robert Vadra and his realty deals in Haryana.
Sonia Gandhi in her letter to the Prime Minister had said, “There is a widespread concern because the officer in the course of her public duties was seen to be standing up to vested interests engaging in illegal activity. We must ensure that the officer is not unfairly treated.”
The government sources have, however, said that they can only step in when Durga will file a petition herself. So far, she hasn’t filed any petition. There are clear indications that the issue will dominate the Monsoon Session of Parliament as the BSP and Left want a discussion on it.
Left leader Gurudas Dasgupta said, “This issue of victimisaton of honest officer should find a place of discussion in the Parliament.”
The government has clarified that it is a state matter. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal said, “This is a state issue.”
Condemning both the demolition of mosque and suspension of Durga, the Congress is walking a tightrope walk. The party does not want to hurt its Muslim vote-bank especially in UP where it is in competition with the SP.
On other hand, it also does not want to antagonise the SP, whose help it needs for the passage of crucial bills in Parliament.(IBNlive)