NEW DELHI: Soon after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj admitted of helping the former Indian Premiere League (IPL) Chief Lalit Modi in obtaining visa, Opposition Congress on Monday stepped up its agitation against the Narendra Modi government and was out on streets demanding her resignation.

Without leaving an opportunity to slam the Central government, the Opposition parties have also questioned the silence maintained by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala on Monday addressed a press conference and slammed the Centre for its reluctance in the matter and claimed that the conflict of interest has been proven. He also questioned the need to act without anybody’s consent in Sushma-Lalit controversy. “Did Sushma Swaraj act without the consent of Finance Minister and Prime Minister,” he asked.

Further alleging that the External Minister has violated the law, he sought a FIR against her. He raised key questions in the conference some of which include:

•Why didn’t Sushma Swaraj force Lalit Modi to return to India?
•What is Finance Ministry’s take on this act?
•Why didn’t the government move HC against Lalit Modi?
•Why nod when wasn’t required? Was there a quid pro quo between Lalit Modi and Sushma Swaraj?

Speaking on behalf of his party, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said, “I am surprised that such a good minister had to resort to this. Sushma Swaraj needs to give answers. By now, the Prime Minister should have asked Sushma to resign. Lalit Modi wanted to go to Portugal, but he’s in Havana.”

Former Union Minister Salman Khurshid echoing Singh’s voice explained, “Sushma cannot escape the tag of breach of propriety and there must be several who tried to resolve issue for Modi. If Sushma took such a step, there should have been transparency. Sushma took a personal call; prima facie it is not justified. There is an explanation due from Sushma. Whole truth must come out before passing judgements. Questions will be asked from the Prime Minister too.”

Congress escalating the attack on the External Affairs Minister further alleged that she helped the IPL king because of her personal ties with him. “As per Portugal laws, husband’s signature is not required before surgery. Sushma Swaraj helped Lalit Modi only because of her family’s ties with him,” said PL Punia.

Clarifying that she had intervened into the matter on humanitarian grounds as Modi’s wife was to be treated for Cancer abroad, Sushma accepted of holding no objection to Modi’s visit to be allowed to travel out of UK and spoke to this effect with British MP Keith Vaz and the British High Commissioner.

However, the BJP, RSS and the Modi government is strongly backing their minister and are out in complete support for her.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said, “Sushma acted on humanitarian grounds and has done nothing wrong. The opposition has the habit to ask for resignation on daily basis.”

On the other hand, RSS leader MG Vaidya too defended Swaraj’s act saying, “Sushma has not done anything wrong. She broke no laws.”

Modi was previously restricted from travelling out of UK and his Indian passport was revoked amidst allegations of match fixing.

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