Escalating its attack on the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Congress on Monday virtually accused CAG Vinod Rai of working for the BJP. This was the strongest attack yet on the CAG and marks a shift of strategy by the party, which had so far been attacking the auditor on facts and figures. Party spokesperson Manish Tiwari had also said that the CAG was as much to blame for the wasted Monsoon session of Parliament as the opposition.
"What's unfortunate is, CAG is just as responsible for this as the BJP is for Monsoon session washout. It has lead to roadblocks in governance and it has maligned India's image internationally," said Mr Tiwari.
The BJP reacted by calling the Congress' statements "ridiculous, cheap and sad" and said that the party must rise above questioning constitutional bodies and "shooting the messenger".
Resuming its criticism against the Comptroller and Auditor General, whose report pointing to a scam on coal block allocations allowed the BJP to corner the government, a Congress spokesperson said that "history shows the mindset" of the CAG "matches certain parties" and that for one of its reports, opposition leaders called up CAG officials. He also accused the CAG of "misusing its constitutional position". The party had several times earlier said that the CAG had exceeded its brief.
"If you were to go into history, you had a situation whereby a CAG report in 1988 paralysed Parliament. The findings of that report were struck down during the NDA regime. But meanwhile the author of the report became a Member of the Rajya Sabha and was Governor of Karnataka," Mr Tiwari said.
Reacting to a question that the Prime Minister had said that he and the government respected the office of the CAG, the spokesperson said that there was no divide on this between the PM and the party.
The spokesperson said that the CAG's "notional figures" had caused embarrassment for the country and that independent experts had questioned the reports. The government had said that the figures of loss that the CAG has reported in the coal allocation report, as well as the 2G spectrum report earlier, were notional and disputable. The CAG too had changed its figures more than once.
The party also slammed the BJP for its "doublespeak" on the CAG's report, saying that it was willing to treat as "sacrosanct" the figures when it came to the Congress, but treated them as notional when it came to states ruled by it.