Press Release

Following is the text of the reply given by CPI(M) General Secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet to George Fernandes, Convenor, National Democratic Alliance in response to his letter dated June 8, 2004.

Dear Shri Fernandes,

I have received your letter of June 8, 2004. You have suggested that the fight against corruption should be waged jointly by all those in public life. Further, you have, with this in mind, asked for removal of those “corrupt and criminal elements” in the Council of Ministers.

I am happy that there is a belated realization on your part that the Council of Ministers must be kept free from corrupt and criminal elements. I wish, however, that you as the Convenor of the National Democratic Alliance had been conscious of this need when the NDA was in government.

You will recall that on the question of the three ministers who were charge-sheeted in the Babri Masjid demolition case and in the Tehelka tapes affair, parliament was repeatedly held up demanding the removal of the ministers concerned and action against those involved in the wrong doing seen to be done on tape. Neither were the three ministers including the then home minister removed nor even a FIR was lodged against those seen taking money in the Tehelka tapes.

If your current realization to fight corrupt and criminal elements is to have any credibility I hope you will publicly accept that the stance of the NDA government in the above matters was wrong.

Such a step would help in mobilising all sections in public life to take a firm stand against both corruption and criminalisation in politics.

With regards



(Harkishan Singh Surjeet)