Latching onto former Law Minister Hansraj Bhardwaj's reported claims that the Congress leadership wanted to dismiss Mulayam Singh government in Uttar Pradesh in 2007, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today attacked the opposition party and said it should come clean on the issue.
The Telecom Minister said there was nothing new in Bhardwaj's comment and alleged that the Congress had a history of "misusing" Article 356.
"There is nothing new in it. Congress' entire history has been about misusing Article 356," Prasad told media on the sidelines of an event organised here to mark the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavir.
"So, what Bhardwaj is saying today, it will be better if Soniaji and Rahulji make a comment on the issue...Because we receive a lot of messages from them (on alleged misuse of the Article), Prasad said, apparently referring to Congress' attack on BJP for imposing President's Rule in Uttarakhand and in Arunachal Pradesh.
According to reports, Bhardwaj, who was law minister in the UPA-I government, has claimed that the Congress leadership wanted to dismiss the then Mulayam government in Uttar Pradesh in 2007 over alleged "mismanagement and corruption", but he did not agree.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in particular, reports quoted Bhardwaj as claiming, wanted to impose President's rule in the state.
He said the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was, however, in dilemma over imposing President rule in the state.
"Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in two minds. Other members...They all recommended that there was ground to impose President's Rule, but I differed openly," he was quoted as saying.
BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma alleged that Bhardwaj's reported claims highlighted the "undemocratic" and "authoritarian" manner in which the Congress chief deals with state governments of other parties.
Noting that the former Law Minister was a senior Congress leader and privy to the UPA-I government's functioning, he said Bhardwaj's comments exposed the "true character" of the opposition party.
He said critical opinions about the party leadership have been coming from inside the organisation.
"Sonia Gandhi should clarify on the comments made by Bhardwaj," he said.