Govt under attack for corruption, increasing prices

New Delhi: The government on Wednesday came under attack in the Lok Sabha with the Opposition blaming it for rising corruption, increasing inflation and deteriorating employment situation.

Participating in the debate on the Motion of thanks to the President for her address to Parliament, Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said the cases of corruption have increased during UPA-II regime.

"Corruption is like opium addiction…It is not going away," he said, recalling the spurt in cases of corruption in the past few years.

The debate was marked by frequent interruptions by members of the ruling as well as opposition parties as they accused each other for rising cases of corruption and inaction to check the menace.

Referring to corruption in hosting Commonwealth Games, Yadav said the government should accept the suggestion of sacked chairman of the CWG Organising Committee Suresh Kalmadi to set up a Joint Parliament Committee to probe the scam.

As regards the 2G spectrum allocation scam, he said it was unfortunate that Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal was contradicting the findings of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

"If Raja (A Raja, former Telecom Minister) has done no wrong, then why he is being interrogated," Yadav questioned, adding "Sibal was treating the nation as his legal chamber."

Sibal had earlier described the findings of the CAG on 2G spectrum allocation as "utterly erroneous".

Yadav further said that money being allocated for the right to work scheme MGNREGA was going waste.

On rising prices, Yadav regretted that essential food items like wheat, rice and pulses were not available in ration shops in several parts of the country.

As regards unemployment, he said, the way 5 lakh youths assembled at Bareilly for 72 ITBP posts, it shows the state of employment in the country.

Congress member Jadgambika Pal, however, recalled the achievements of the government and said policies of UPA-II were aimed at benefiting common man.

"The government was able to preserve employment in the country at a time when people were losing jobs in different parts of the world on account of global financial crisis", he said.

He also said the Opposition`s insistence on JPC to probe 2G spectrum had cost the House 23 sittings in the Winter session of Parliament and nation Rs 172 crore.

Referring to the issue of corruption, he said, while the Congress removed Maharashtra Chief Minister in the aftermath of the Adarsh Housing Society scam, the NDA did not do any such thing in Karnataka, despite adverse reports against the Chief Minister.

Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda raised the issue of corruption and referred to charges against Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yedyurappa.

The Janata Dal (S) leader said if corruption can be tolerated in Karnataka and Maharashtra, then why not in Delhi.

When he asked if there was any accountability for money in Karnataka, he drew sharp protests from the opposition BJP, which objected to his taking the name of the Karnataka Chief Minister in the House.

Following this, Gowda displayed copies of an English news magazine which had the CM`s name on its cover.

Basudeb Acharia CPI(M) said many of the issues in President Pratibha Patil`s address were a repetition of last year`s speech.

"Crony capitalism and corruption are increasing alarmingly," he said, adding big business houses and corporates are in a position to decide policy matters themselves.

Acharia said that in recent years, the country has seen one scam after another. He said that the opposition, including his party, had demanded a Joint Parliamentary Probe (JPC) because of the wide ramifications of the 2G scam.

On food inflation, he said government has the money but not the political will to tackle price rise.

The CPI(M) leader also raised the issue of left-wing extremism, alleging that the Trinamool Congress was "hand in glove" with the Maoists.

This raised a volley of protests from the TC members who in turn alleged that it was the CPI(M) which had given rise to left wing extremism.