Supreme Court slap drowns Karnataka joy for Congress

New Delhi, May 8 (IANS) The Congress party’s euphoria over wresting Karnataka after a seven-year gap Wednesday dimmed somewhat after it was severely chastised by the Supreme Court over the CBI’s functioning, which it termed as a “caged parrot” that “speaks in its master’s voice”.

The Karnataka win gave the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) the much-needed boost as it battles a series of corruption allegations.

Congress leaders said the result was bound to boost its morale ahead of more assembly polls due this year besides the Lok Sabha battle next year.

Said Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi: “People have seen through and rejected the BJP.”

But, the thumping victory in the southern state paled somewhat as the day wore on after the apex court pulled up Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and asked whether the law minister can ask the Central Bureau of Investigation to show details of probe or status report in a case involving people of other ministries and PMO.

“It is a caged parrot speaking in its master’s voice,” a bench headed by Justice R.M. Lodha said of the agency, adding: “It’s a sordid saga that there are many masters and one parrot.”

The court’s observations came on CBI director Ranjit Sinha’s second affidavit filed on Monday stating that the law minister and senior officials of the Prime Minister’s Office and the coal ministry had made certain changes in the draft report on the allocation of coal blocks.

Expressing displeasure at the government’s interference in the coal allocation probe report, the court said, “The heart of the report was changed on the suggestions of the government officials”.

Putting up a brave face, Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury said : “We are sensitive to what the court is saying… we remain conscious of the parameters that have to be maintained even as we continue with the act of governance,” she told reporters.

But, the scathing attack did not take away the wild celebrations and cheers that broke out in the Congress camp after the grand old party won the Karnataka polls.

Both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi voiced their satisfaction over the Karnataka result that ended the five years of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rule in the southern state.

The Congress victory “is a clear result against the ideology of the BJP”, Manmohan Singh said in Delhi.

“The people of the country know what’s what and they will reject the BJP ideology as the result in Karnataka shows,” he said.

Accepting defeat, the BJP said it was due to “bad politics”.

The Congress was set to win 121 seats in the 225-member assembly, official results and trends said. The BJP was routed as it lost 70 of the 110 seats it had won in 2008 to form a government for the first time in any state in southern India.

The Congress would now like to see a repeat of the Karnataka success in the other assembly elections slated later this year, including Delhi and Rajasthan. With two key allies leaving it, the DMK and Trinamool Congress, the Congress is existing on external support from the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party, which has been making noises of pulling out, leading to early general elections.

The Karnataka result also came at a time when the BJP had refused to let parliament function, demanding the resignation of Ashwani Kumar and Pawan Kumar Bansal for alleged impropriety.

The opposition has been in no mood to yield an inch to the Congress-led government and stalled their move to push big ticket reforms like the Food Security Bill and the Land Acquisition Bill.

The parliament was adjourned sine die Wednesday, two days ahead of schedule.

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