ALL INDIA CONGRESS COMMITTEE
24, AKBAR ROAD, NEW DELHI
Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, MP, and Spokesperson AICC addressed the media today.
Dr. Singhvi said, in a nutshell, the basic takeaway was that on three major issues, according to us, the BJP and some of the few other parties of the NDA were left standing alone in complete solitary exclusion and exception before the Election Commission meeting today. The overwhelming number of parties which went to the Election Commission today, pursuant to their questionnaire and the Congress Party had Shri Mukul Wasnik there and my colleague was also there. On the three major issues of EVM, the BJP found itself in isolation.
To a question on meeting with Election Commission on reverting to paper ballot, Dr. Singhvi said- The majority of parties are in favour of election through the paper ballot. I am saying that the parties who were there, overwhelming 70% supported a reversion to paper ballot. Now I do not know which counting the Election Commission is doing, the NCP was there, BSP was there, SP was there, AAP was there, JD (S) was there, two major Left Blocks were there, CPI and CPI (M), major elements of the Left like Forward Block were there. So apart from the BJP and a few allies, at the most figure count, Shiv Sena. So, four parties Vs 15 parties. I was astonished. Therefore, I completely reject this version.
On a further question can you reiterate again that the Congress and other parties urging Election Commission to revert to paper ballot, Dr. Singhvi said- the Congress’ stand was given in writing to the Election Commission many weeks ago. Not this stand, even earlier. Now this stand is a second time we have given this stand that our ideal situation, our demand remains undiluted that there should be reversion to paper ballot which is the demand of many political parties across the spectrum. However, other suggestions are given – in the alternative – that if you do not agree to revert to paper ballot – it is very clear – then obviously I have to give you a suggestion about VVPAT, I have to give a suggestion about 30% etc. etc. So it is very clear.
On the question of putting ‘ifs and buts’ leads to perception that Congress Party is not firm on its stand on reversion to paper ballot, Dr. Singhvi said– I can’t deal with perception, I am to deal with reality. I am not here going to correct perception which are fickle. The reality is that if I tell you, revert to paper ballot, and you do not revert to paper ballot, then I should not even suggest to you that within what you are doing namely EVM, you should have a safeguard of 30%. So I loose on both counts. I neither get paper ballot nor get 30% VVPAT matching trail. I do not think that is a correct way for a political party to deal with.
On the question if there is any concern that most of the electoral bonds are of higher denomination, Dr. Singhvi said- The stand of the Congress Party is clear in saying earlier and now. Electoral Bonds are yet another fraud on the Nation. This is not a new stand. You are in fact legitimizing anonymity; you are in fact legitimizing large sums of money without even the scrutiny which happens today – today itself is bad enough. You are actually making it much worse. It is no point saying that the Bank knows it or the Income Tax authorities knows it. I don’t know the Income Tax Return and I can’t enter the Bank Account. So the net result is, think it again, I do not want to get in to debate. You are in fact legitimizing humongous amounts of donation without revealing not only the name of the donor which alone is the way to check the quid-pro-quo to the donor direct or indirect.
To a further question that RSS has invited the Congress Party for its function, Dr. Singhvi said I do not answer hypothetical speculative questions. I have said to you categorically upon checking that we have received no invitation as I speak. You can be rest assured, as and when we receive an invitation, the Congress Party receives an invitation, there will be an appropriate proper response and you all will be shared with that response. This is purely imaginary at the moment.
To another question that former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh has written a letter to the Prime Minister on the Nehru Memorial, Dr. Singhvi said– Dr. Manmohan Singh is a person renowned for his sobriety and for using words of studied moderation. If at all Dr. Manmohan Singh can be accused of being too mild, too controlled and too moderate in the use of his words. I think the whole world has seen, the whole of India is seeing that by means direct and indirect much more by indirect and by stealth, attempts are being made to change the integrity, the character, the identity, the content of venerable institutions this country of which certainly NMML is one. And this is not limited by any means to NMML, that is a tragedy.
Dr. Singhvi said there is no doubt in anybody’s mind that what terrorizes the BJP, Shri Modi and his team, is the growing complete comprehensive consensus amongst the diversity of national and regional parties across the length and breadth of India from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and from North East and West Bengal to the rest of the India that this has been the worst kind of a context of Indian political history and that is going to 100% lead to – I won’t give it a name – whether you call it ‘gathbandhan’, whether you call it ‘seat adjustment’, whether you call it ‘understanding’, but certainly the parties are converging in a large demonstrable manner. So what Dr. Sen has said is on the lips of every Indian. What he has talked about is reality.
Dr. Singhvi said– let me make it clear that India has seen competition earlier of one time between 56” chest and the exchange rate of the Indian Rupees, the 56” chest was left behind long ago when we touched Rs. 70 as far as Dollar is concerned and I think we are going to exceed certain limit in the near future.
The second competition seems to be, if you were to count the age of India from independence, is the competition between 71 years of our age of independent India and 73 Rs. the price of Diesel in Mumbai and Chennai – just a few decimal below the price of Diesel in Delhi Rs. 70. All I can say that if this is the distorted horrendous definition of ‘Achhe Din’ then I would like to find out which dictionary defines “Achhe Din’ like this. As I would always like to say we are talking of Diesel for the tractor also, we are talking diesel for truck also because your distribution of everything is too crucial but there is silence. We are getting sermons from the Finance Ministry every day and the only best answer they find is ‘legacy’ issue. After 4-1/2 years, the Petrol and Diesel is touching Rs. 77 and Rs. 70, Rs. 73 Diesel in Mumbai and Chennai. You still have to talk of legacy issue. Actually the legacy was very beneficial to you when you came into power, you were getting oil per barrel at half of the price at which we were getting and now you speak like this.