BJP Leader Supports Anna, Ramdev Movements, Lambasts Government

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Washington, DC – Nirmala Sitharaman, spokesperson of the top opposition party in India, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), spoke to Tejinder Singh, Editor of India America Today, during a recent visit to Washington, DC.

Crediting BJP President Nitin Gadkari for having sent her to “convey the BJP’s viewpoint, and also to meet and interact with the senators,” Sitharaman was candid in her appraisal of the current political situation in India and anti-corruption civil society initiatives.

On the ongoing movement by Anna Hazare and another upcoming agitation by Baba Ramdev beginning August 9, Sitharaman said, “The fight against corruption is one thing on which we’ve been very clearly associated with,” describing one movement as aimed at cutting off corruption completely, while the other is, “to get the black money, which is too much abroad, back to India.”

Supporting the need for a “very good, strict Lokpal Bill,” Sitharaman said, “We shall carry out political party’s agenda as the principal opposition party, in working for an effective Lokpal Bill, and be supportive of movements which are taking up the issue of corruption. And therefore, by inference, we certainly support the two movements, which are, one aiming at corruption reduction.”

Labeling the political mood in India today one of despondency, Sitharaman said, “A certain anger, which is simmering, of the failure of the government to address critical areas of governance – whether it is inflation, whether it is dealing with price rise, whether it is cutting down on corruption, whether it is taking the second generation reforms forward- you find this government just at a standstill, just at a limbo.”

Accusing the incumbent government of not working to “reduce the burden on the common man,” Sitharaman said, “The common man in whose name the vote was asked for and they won an election and came to power. So in other words, it’s very clearly a mood where people see none of the issues which affect the common man are of priority for this government anymore.”

On the question of whether the BJP would ask for early elections, she was non-committal saying, “Certainly as a political party, particularly as the principal opposition party, we are keenly watching this situation. We will see how it goes.”

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