Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke his silence on the DDCA row, describing finance minister Arun Jaitley to be as untainted as party veteran LK Advani was in the Hawala case.At the weekly BJP parliamentary party meeting on Tuesday morning, Modi backed Jaitley, who faces DDCA corruption charges levelled by party MP Kirti Azad. “Congress has made two mistakes. When it levelled allegations against Advaniji in the Hawala case, the whole nation stood by Advaniji against the Congress. Advaniji jitne pavitra hain, Jaitleyji bhi utne hi pavitra hain,” Modi said, according to sources.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Prime Minister said Jaitley will come out with “flying colours” the way Advani did in the Hawala case. He took on Congress saying its strategy was aimed at targeting capable ministers, and referred to its attack on external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and chief ministers Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan. “Once we understand this strategy, we have to be ready for a big fight,” he said. This would be done through connecting with people and holding press conferences in each constituency of the 280 party MPs plus one non-BJP constituency each. The MPs have been asked to stay overnight in their constituencies.While he stood by Jaitley, Modi was silent on Azad, who was not present in the meeting. However, later Azad said he had not boycotted the meeting but was away because of a prior engagement.Party president Amit Shah too had come out in support of Jaitley on Monday evening, but not said a word on Azad. Shah’s statement came on Monday evening after Azad had held a press conference on Sunday and a day later spoken against Jaitley in Lok Sabha and then tweeted. The party leadership’s silence had started raising eyebrows.However, the leadership has refrained from reprimanding or sending a show cause notice to Azad, who appeared to be testing the party’s patience.Sources reflect a dilemma in the party on the issue. The BJP had taken a similar approach towards its two other Bihar Mps — Shatrughan Sinha and RK Singh — who have taken on the party leadership. The question is whether the party will take action against Azad, who has left the BJP red faced in waging a battle against one of the most high profile ministers in the Modi cabinet.On Monday, Azad had tweeted challenging Jaitley to sue him too along with other AAP leaders.The row has given ammunition to the Congress which asked Jaitely to follow Advani, who had set the tradition bowing out of public life, till he came out clean. Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said Modi’s drawing comparison between Advani being absolved in the Jain Hawala case with allegations against Jaitley is significant. “He (Jaitley) should learn lessons from his leader Advani, who abdicated office and didn’t even contest election till he came out clean,” he said. The Congress was also demanding Jaitley to listen to his leader and conscience by quiting office, till investigations are over, he said.The finance minister has in the past been a crusader for accountability and has repeatedly invoked the dictum that Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion”.
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