Donít vote for tainted politicians: Jaitley, Digvijaya

Arun JaitleyBJP leader Arun Jaitley. (IE)

Exhibiting rare unanimity, the ruling Congress and the main Opposition BJP Saturday refused to take the blame for tainted persons becoming law-makers and instead, put the onus of electing clean leaders on the voters.

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh also agreed on the need to avoid use of intemperate language and raising the level of political discourse. Singh and Jaitley argued that electoral reforms must be undertaken, but the initiatives should be practical.

Participating in a discussion at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, the two blamed each other's parties for frequent disruptions in Parliament and stalling of key Bills. Jaitley said that ever since the UPA came to power, consultation process with the Opposition has receded into the background and consensus was not possible in an environment of confrontation.

Singh accused the BJP of adopting a confrontationist approach all the time and stalling Parliament on "petty issues".

Jaitley made it clear that the BJP has strong objections to finer points of the Communal Violence Bill which he said was discriminatory and encroached into law and order and public order, which is the domain of the states. The two leaders faced questions about probity in politics in the context of the Congress's tie up with the JMM in Jharkhand and the BJP gearing up to welcome B S Yeddyurappa back into the party.

"Why do you elect people on whom we have to rely upon. You elect a hung assembly in Jharkhand and you make the JMM the balancer. Despite serious allegations if people still elect him in large numbers... you can't have a vaccum in Jharkhand, it is a tribal dominated state. Therefore, you will need to have a government and he is the balancer." Jaitley said. Elaborating, he said the voters must be more discerning while electing representatives. "Please don't elect persons with a shady track record," he said and cited the case of UP where people with dubious background have contested as Independents and won after parties denied them tickets. "Please don't pontificate after electing such people. Don't elect them...Why do you elect such people and compel political parties either to have no government or rely on people who have been elected," he said.

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