Monday, February 26, 2007


The Congress and the Opposition parties appear to be headed for a major showdown in Parliament over the government’s tardy response to the arrest of Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, one of the accused in the Bofors pay off case. The NDA and the SP appear all set to haul the UPA government over the coals, once the budget session gets formally underway on Monday with the presentation of the Railway Budget.
The government, meanwhile, has decided to face the Opposition aggressively both inside the Parliament and outside. Sources told DNA that the government is likely to take the position that it was well within its rights not to make the matter public, even as it was taking all possible steps to extradite him. “The government acted with alacrity. Everything that needs to be done to bring him to India is being done, attempts by the Opposition to politicise the issue will come a cropper,” says Ashok Gehlot, AICC general secretary.
The Congress believes that Bofors as an issue has been flogged to death and the issue is unlikely to excite people anymore. “There is a Bofors fatigue now. The people have moved on,” says a cabinet minister. The government is resigned to the fact that it will be unable to transact much business save for the presentation of the Railway and general budget as it expects the Opposition to stall proceedings. “There is nothing to hide, once the facts are known, the Opposition’s balloon will be pricked,” says a minister.


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