Congress leader Digvijaya Singh lashed out at Bharatiya Janata Party’s senior leader Arun Jaitley yesterday for attacking Press Council of India chairman Markandey Katju over his remarks on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Singh said Jaitley had no problem when Katju spoke against Congress leader Virbhadra Singh, against the home ministry, the detention of Kashmiri journalist Iftikhar Gilani or in the gang-rape case when he publicly rebuked the Delhi police.
“He kept quiet on those occasions,” Singh told reporters.
“He has given this statement just because Justice Katju has raised the developmental issues of Gujarat,” the Congress leader said and asked: “Is it because he (Jaitley) owes his Rajya Sabha seat to Narendra Modi that he thinks he should defend Mr Narendra Modi?”
“Mr Arun Jaitley should not comment like this. It is unbecoming of the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha,” he added.
Jaitley on Sunday accused the Press Council chairman of being biased and demanded his resignation, drawing a strong retort from the former Supreme Court judge who said the BJP leader was distorting facts and asked him to quit politics.
Jaitley accused Katju of attacking non-Congress governments in Bihar, Gujarat and West Bengal on the basis of “his political preferences.”
In an article on the Bharatiya Janata Party website, Jaitley said Katju’s attacks “seem more in the nature of thanks-giving to those who provided him with a post-retirement job.”
He said Katju had over the past week released a draft report on behalf of the Press Council alleging that the media in Bihar was not independent.
He followed it up with an article in an English daily attacking the Gujarat government and Chief Minister Modi.
Another BJP leader, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, said Katju’s remarks were “unsolicited” and he was free to voice any opinion but after relinquishing his position.
“Justice Katju prefers slamming non-Congress governments and the fact is that he has been appointed by the government as PCI chairman and his salary and perks come from the government,” the BJP spokesman said.
“He holds a quasi-judicial position and has made unsolicited remarks. Katju is free to voice any opinion but he has to surely relinquish his position as chairman of PCI,” he said.