New Delhi: The Manmohan Singh-led government in the Centre found itself caught in a web when the Opposition on Tuesday faulted the government on the issue of corruption particularly involving 2G spectrum scam, besides inflation, black money, foreign policy, defence policy, approach on Jammu and Kashmir and internal security.

In a sharp attack, the Opposition accused the Centre of suffering from "deficit" on account of "leadership" and "competence" and questioned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's contention about "coalition compulsions" which it wanted to be explained.

"India has never had it so bad in terms of governance. Today you have a government which, for the past three years, cannot control prices, it cannot provide this country either with the decision-making or with honest governance," Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said.

"This country deserves much better than what we are getting in governance," he said.

Participating in the debate over Motion of Thanks to the President's Address the Opposition targeted the Prime Minister in particular, who was present in the House.

Jaitley said that while he was an honest man, he "leads one of the most dishonest governments...what is the use of personal integrity," Jaitley said.

In the context of "competence deficit", Jaitley pointed out the recent faux pas by External Affairs Minister S M Krishna who read the speech of Portuguese Foreign Minister's speech instead of his own at the UN Security Council. This incident has left everyone "bewildered", he said.

Referring to the 2G scam, the BJP leader criticised Singh for remaining "silent" for three years and then trying to distance himself from the "rot" during his recent media interaction.

The Opposition leader alleged and contended that "much damage" has been done to the image of the country because of corruption index being high.

"Mirror seems to be cracking. It is very difficult to join," he said.

Observing that Singh's government would be judged by the footprints of bold actions that it leaves behind, Jaitley said, "but if the Prime Minister would like his government to be judged by the mere number of years it lasts, then it would become a footnote in history".

Targeting Singh on high inflation Jaitley asked him, "What is the use of your being a distinguished economist...?"

In the Lok Sabha, BJP leader Rajnath Singh referred to the Prime Minister's remarks about compromises to be made in managing a coalition and said he "should please define the compulsions."

Rajnath Singh wondered whether any "invisible powers" were stopping the Prime Minister from functioning properly.

Congress countered BJP attack


Responding to the Opposition attack, Congress charged the BJP with indulging in politics over corruption and questioned what the party’s work in Karnataka as also when it was in power at the Centre.

"We can do more politics than they (BJP) have done, but we should do the politics for development of the country," Congress member Manish Tewari.

Initiating the debate in the Lok Sabha, Congress member P C Chacko mounted a strong defence of Manmohan Singh and said, "We are happy to have a Prime Minister like Dr Manmohan Singh whose skills of macro-economic management have been the most sought after in the world."

In the Rajya Sabha, Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan admitted that corruption has flourished but insisted that government has taken innovative and path-breaking steps to fight the menace.

Jaitley, while referring to 2G scam said, "For some reasons, the telecom sector had been outsourced to one political party. Within the political party, it was outsourced to a faction of the state's ruling family."

This was strongly objected to by Natarajan and few other Congress members.

Opposition on scams

Contending that 2G scam had shaken the conscience of the entire nation, Jaitley asked, "What is the intent of the government on the whole issue?"

The government now "grudgingly and reluctantly" agreed for JPC on 2G spectrum after blaming the Opposition for disrupting Parliament, Jaitley said.

Referring to the alleged corruption in the conduct of Commonwealth Games, he said the government did not have any clue as to how to use the infrastructure created in the name of CWG.

On S-band spectrum allocation which the government recently annulled, Jaitley said the Department of Space falls directly under the Prime Minister.

"Today, an effort is being made to relieve the situation by canceling the contract," he said, adding that by merely canceling the deal the government cannot wipe out the criminality.    

Accusing the government of misusing the CBI and questioning the appointment of CVC, Jaitley said a ministerial attack was launched on CAG whenever an unfriendly report against the government was submitted.

V Maitreyan (AIADMK) said, "We suffer from trust and governance deficit" as he referred to a series of scams during UPA-II rule.

Mohan Singh (SP) said it was shocking that Prime Minister of a nation talks about compulsions of coalition politics and fails to "control cabinet colleagues."    

Rajeev Chandrasekhar (Independent) said a series of scams have shaken the nation.