Congress attempt at Snoopgate falls flat

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Govt develops cold feet as allies red-flag move

Congress attempt at Snoopgate falls flat
Congress’s last-ditch effort to embarrass main rival Narendra Modi appears to have fallen flat on its face in the absence of any support. As pressure mounted from UPA allies and opposition BJP cried foul, the Manmohan Singh government has dropped the idea of naming a judge to head a probe snooping of young women by Gujarat police allegedly at the behest of chief minister and prime ministerial candidate Na­rendra Modi.

“We have left the decision on appointing a judge to the next government,” Press Trust of India said quoting an unnamed government source.

The move to drop the appointment by the out­going Singh govern­ment ca­me a day after two UPA constituents, Sharad Pa­war led NCP and Farooq Abdullah-led National Conference, opposed the move in the “dying days” of UPA-II.

The controversy spa­rked off after law minister Kapil Sibal and home minister Sushilkumar Shinde announced last week that a judge would be named to probe the surveillance, dubbed as 'Snoopgate', before May 16, when results of the nine-phase Lok Sabha elections would be announced.

Earlier in the day senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley accused UPA government of practicing vendetta out of desperation of defeat in the elections. He said the move to appoint a commission on Snoopgate was a “malafide exercise” as Gujarat-appointed commission of inquiry was already investigating it.

"The lady in question has already made a statement. She has also sent a statement to the national women's commission. I doubt that anything else is left for the central government to do in the matter," Jaitley told reporters.

The controversy was triggered by alleged illegal surveillance on a young woman architect in Gujarat in 2009 allegedly at the behest of Modi and Amit Shah who was then home minister in the state.

NCP leader Praful Patel said on Sunday “when the results of the Lok Sabha elections are due in two weeks’ time, where is the need for such an enquiry.”

National Conference leader and Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah too pointed out that if the decision to appoint a judge could not be taken in December (after a cabinet decision), then it was wrong to appoint a judge five months later.

Mahila Congress chief Shoba Oza, however, said there should be “no compromise” on going ahead with the probe, as the matter does not involve any political party, but women of the country who constitute half of the population.


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