PMO, BJP back Rajnath, deny reports on minister's son
Upset over "rumours" that his son was not fielded in the Uttar Pradesh bye-elections due to alleged misconduct, Home Minister Rajnath Singh Wednesday said he would quit politics if any of the allegations are proven to be true.
Rajnath Singh was backed by the Prime Minister's Office and Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah, who dismissed the reports as baseless and motivated.
Gossip in the power corridors have been that the home minister's son Pankaj Singh got a dressing down from Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Rajnath Singh's presence over some misconduct.
Later, it was said that Rajnath Singh sought a ticket for Pankaj Singh for the Uttar Pradesh bye-elections, but was denied even as he was being seen as a frontrunner for the Noida seat.
The home minister gave an emotional denial to the allegation.
"Since last 15-20 days, there have been rumours about me and my family. I thought the rumours have no basis, so it will settle down itself. However, I am seeing that the rumours have only intensified," Rajnath Singh said in a strong and emotional denial.
"If any allegation, big or small, is prima facie proven against me or my family members, I will quit politics and sit at home," he told reporters here.
Backing the home minister, the PMO came out with a categorical denial shortly after Rajnath Singh's comments.
The PMO said reports in recent weeks linking Modi's apparent displeasure over "the conduct of some union ministers and alleged misconduct of the home minister's son" were "plain lies".
"The reports are plain lies, motivated and constitute a malicious attempt at character assassination and tarnishing the image of the government," the statement said.
"Those indulging in such rumour-mongering are damaging the interest of the nation. These reports are strongly denied."
BJP president Shah in a statement said the conduct of all BJP ministers was of the highest level.
In a statement issued in Hindi, Shah said there have been baseless ans imaginary rumours surrounding Rajnath Singh and his son.
"As the party president, I believe the conduct of all our ministers is of the highest standard, and such propaganda is baseless," the BJP president said.
"As far as Rajnath Singh is concerned, he is one of our seniormost ministers... I strongly condemn the rumours and feel personally hurt by them," Shah said.
While the insiders say Rajnath Singh has been hurt by "ministerial colleague" spreading the "rumours", the home minister refused to speak on it in clear terms.
Asked if political rivalry was behind the rumours, the home minister said: "I will say nothing."
Party insiders also said Rajnath Singh had approached the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) over the allegations. The home minister however denied it.
(Posted on 27-08-2014)
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