Sushma drags Sonia into her Lalit Modi defence

If I am guilty of helping a woman in need, I am ready to accept it, said the external affairs ministry

GN Bureau | August 6, 2015


#sushma swaraj   #lalit modi   #parliament  

When she finally got a chance to speak, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj chose to be dramatic and displayed emotions that are normally not seen in parliament.

Making a statement in the Lok Sabha in the absence of opposition Congress MPs on Thursday, Swaraj said Lalit Modi's wife Minal was suffering from life-threatening cancer and that she wanted her husband to be near her at an hospital in Portugal.

"If it was Sonia ji in my place what would she have done? Left her to die?" Swaraj asked.

She read from doctors' testimonies to show that Modi's wife was going through a particularly critical phase of her treatment.

"If I am guilty of helping a woman in need, I am ready to accept it," she said.

The minister said she waited for the monsoon session of parliament to clear the air on the controversy about her alleged help to Modi, but she was not allowed to speak. Swaraj said she was at pain to note that even her friends in the opposition were asking for her resignation for no fault of her.

Swaraj pointed out that she never requested nor recommended to the UK authorities for giving travel papers to Lalit Modi.

"I left it to the decision of the UK authorities. I only said it will not affect bilateral ties between India and UK if he is granted travel papers."

She also appealed to the opposition to end their protests as the Lalit Modi papers has "become a non-issue now."

Going philosophical she cited her 'stars' as the reason for her misfortune, quoted couplets from the 'Ram Charitra Manas' and ended with a impassioned plea about accepting any punishment the house has to offer for her crime of helping someone'.

Swaraj’s ouster is being demanded vigorously by the opposition and that issue has been one of the reasons for the parliament deadlock.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Ambika Soni on Thursday said that Sushma Swaraj did write a letter to the UK Government for Lalit Modi as has been revealed, but whether or not she has wronged depends on propriety.

Responding to a question about Swaraj refuting the allegations on writing the letter, Soni said, "she did something. It was revealed that she wrote the letter. Now, whether she has wronged or not depends on propriety. Taking advantage of your post, you wrote a letter to the England Government to let Lalit Modi travel on 'humanitarian basis'. But there is a limit of humanitarian basis."

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