Indian opposition demand PM resign over bribe allegations

NEW DELHI, July 22, 2008 (AFP) – India’s main opposition party on Tuesday demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over allegations the government was bribing lawmakers to survive a vote of confidence in parliament. The demand came as a crucial debate descended into chaos when opposition MPs started waving around large bundles of cash they said had been paid to them in bribes.

Officials in parliament said the speaker, Somnath Chatterjee, had called in Delhi’s police chief to investigate the claims.

The confidence vote, however, was set to go ahead at 6:00 pm (1230 GMT), they said.

“Over the last three or four days, there has been pressure on our MPs to take money to either abstain or vote for the government, and this has been done by the Congress and their supporters,” Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh told reporters.

“Now that it has been exposed, the prime minister of this country should resign his post. This scandal has lowered the dignity of our parliament,” he said, adding the party had video evidence of money changing hands.

“Never in the history of our parliament has such a shameful and revolting scandal unfolded,” he told AFP.

The stormy scenes forced the spea