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BJP, Congress trade barbs over ED raids on Robert Vadra, his associate

MP CM Chouhan claims he will return to power

Archis Mohan  |  New Delhi 

Robert Vadra
Robert Vadra

Emboldened by the post-poll surveys that predicted a good performance by the in the recently conducted state elections, the party on Saturday said the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is indulging in “dirty tricks” to intimidate the Opposition.

Its leaders referred to raids by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Robert Vadra, son-in-law of United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, and some of his associates on Friday. The Sangh Parivar, too, mounted pressure on the government as it prepared for its “dharma sansad”, slated for Sunday, to press for the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

The hit back at the Opposition, calling Vadra a fountainhead of corruption.

Most surveys, released on Friday, predicted that the would thwart the five-year-old government’s reelection bid in Rajasthan. In Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, both of which have government, the results could be a photo finish. Experts claims the results of these elections, to be declared on December 11, would determine the strategy of both the government and the Opposition for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

ALSO READ: ED raids premises of Robert Vadra's associates, Cong protests 'vendetta'

On the offensive

On Saturday, the held two separate press briefings.

The first was by lawyer and party leader Abhishek Singhvi and spokesperson Pawan Khera. The second, in the evening, had party heavyweights, such as Treasurer Ahmed Patel, former Union minister Kapil Sibal, and chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala in attendance.

Singhvi said the BJP faced a complete rout in the five states, and so the government has turned vindictive. He said the government was misusing central probe agencies against Opposition leaders, and the raid on Vadra and his associates was part of this. “The CBI, the ED, the income tax department are acting as ‘slaves and bonded labourers’, dancing to the tunes of the Modi government,” Singhvi said.

Return volley

Dubbing as the “fountainhead of corruption”, the BJP on Saturday lashed out at the Congress. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said the Congress used to call Vadra a private citizen after his name cropped up in corruption cases but now the whole party stands behind him.

“It implies that he is only a conduit and the final track probably leads to the family,” he said, targeting the Gandhi family. He also defended investigation agency raids, claiming that independent institutions are working in tandem with the Constitution under the Modi government and that law is taking its own course.

ALSO READ: Political witch-hunt carrying on unceasingly against me: Robert Vadra

Trouble in the family

As it prepared for its “dharma sansad” at Delhi’s Ramlila Grounds, the Vishva Hindu Parishad claimed hundreds from across the country have come to attend it. There was trouble elsewhere too in the

The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, the trade union arm of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, reached out to other central trade unions to plan a joint action to protest against the government’s “anti-worker” policies.

The meeting, held at the BMS headquarters in Delhi, was attended by representatives of several other trade unions, including Congress-affiliated Indian Trade Union Congress. They decided to formulate a charter of demands, which they will present to the government’s “group of ministers” on trade union-related issues, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, on December 31.

ALSO READ: ED summons Robert Vadra in money laundering probe on Bikaner land scam case

Brimming with confidence

Despite the post-poll surveys showing a tight race in the state, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh on Saturday said he was confident of returning to power. “I am the biggest surveyor (pollster) as I remain in the midst of public all day long. The BJP is set to romp home,” said.

With inputs from PTI

First Published: Sat, December 08 2018. 23:00 IST