By NewsGram Staff Writer
In his first ever radio address after the controversy broke off, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Mann ki Baat programme sidelined the mention of links between foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje with former IPL boss Lalit Modi.
The PM touched upon diverse themes but omitted any mention of the controversy which has dominated headlines and is seen as the first major case of impropriety in his one-year regime.
Offering a justification for the omission, the PM said that ‘Mann ki Baat’ was meant for issues close to his heart and not strictly business of government.
“Sometimes, some people feel that I should make big government announcements in Mann ki Baat programme. No. For that, I work day and night. With you, I do light-hearted talk and I get pleasure from that,” he said.
However, the opposition lost little time in slamming the Prime Minister, highlighting the fact that Modi never missed an opportunity to tweet messages on various issues, but was reticent on this crucial topic.
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad expressed disappointment over the PM’s “failure” to speak on Lalit Modi controversy.
“It is in the interest of the PM to take immediate action against those involved in corruption. Otherwise, nationally and internationally, it is going to haunt him wherever he goes,” Azad told TOI.
In Tamil Nadu, former finance minister P Chidambaram said, “The prime minister, who criticized Manmohan Singh for being silent, is silent now.”
Meanwhile, AAP leader Ashish Ketan said, “The whole country has only one Mann ki Baat which is what is the prime minister’s take on ‘Lalitgate’, Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhra Raje. And that Mann Ki Baat remained unaddressed.”
BJP spokesman Sambit Patra countered the opposition charge, saying the PM had spoken on pertinent issues, like protection of the girl child, social security and water conservation. “There are far more issues than satisfying the frustration of Congress,” he said.
It has been alleged that in her official role as foreign minister, Swaraj had approached UK authorities to help Modi with a travel document at a time when the former cricket administrator was wanted by India law enforcement agencies.
On the other hand, Raje has been accused of helping Modi’s bid to gain residency permit in the UK on the ground that he was being persecuted by Indian agencies.