New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) went on the offensive on the cash-for-vote scam on Thursday with L K Advani hailing as "whistle-blowers" the two former party MPs jailed in the scam and declaring that if they are guilty then he too should be sent behind bars.

Defending his BJP members accused in the scam, Advani said, “If they are culprits, arrest me as well.”

“People who cheated and gave votes to the government are sitting peacefully,” he added.

Amid repeated disruptions from the Congress members in the Lok Sabha, the BJP Parliamentary Party chief made a strong defence of the actions of Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Bhagora during the July 22, 2008 Confidence Vote.

"Whatever was done was done as per Constitutional norms. If anything was wrong I would have stopped them," said Advani, who is also Working Chairman of NDA.

Raising the issue on the last day of the tumultuous Monsoon session of the Parliament, Advani insisted that it was evident during the Confidence Vote that the government was "trying to purchase votes".

"They were whistle-blowers who honestly reported the matter in the House. They presented the money. That time I was the Leader of the Opposition and I know the facts. I believe that these two members have done a great service to democracy by bringing in the Parliament the Rs 1 crore given to them," he said during Zero Hour.

He lamented that those who voted for the government "through dishonesty" by taking money are sitting here comfortably, "but my two friends who honestly served the country are in jail."

There were disruptions from the Congress members from the time Advani rose to speak who at one point threatened that he would be forced to raise the issue outside if he was not allowed to have his say in the House.

NDA leaders demand PM's resignation

NDA leaders on Thursday protested in the Parliament premises against the arrest of two former BJP MPs who had acted as "whistleblowers" in the cash-for-vote scam and demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, alleging that he was heading a corrupt government.

Senior BJP leaders, including L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj,  Arun Jaitley, Jaswant Singh, Rajnath Singh and others, along with ally JD(U) led by Sharad Yadav, held a protest demonstration at the Mahatma Gandhi statue in the Parliament House complex against the arrest of the two former BJP MPs- Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Bhagore.

The leaders shouted slogans like, "Prime Minister should resign", "The government which is incompetent has to be removed" and "This government of scams will not continue".

BJP had given notices for suspension of Question Hour in both the Houses of the Parliament to discuss the new developments in the cash-for-vote scam case. When the Chair did not permit this, they forced an adjournment of the two Houses.

Soon thereafter, the NDA MPs from both the Houses gathered at the Gandhi statue to hold the demonstration.

BJP maintains that injustice has been done to its two former MPs as they had only acted as "whistleblowers" in the cash-for-vote scam of July 2008.

(Agencies)