Even as the BJP launched a fresh attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday, differences appeared within the opposition, with BJP ally JD(U) saying it was in favour of a discussion on the government auditor’s report on coal block allocations.
JD(U) leader Shivanand Tiwari said his party was ready for a debate in parliament. “We are ready for discussion in parliament... the government should give a clarification over coal allocation,” Tiwari said.
“Our party wants parliament to go on,” he said, adding, "the PAC (public accounts committee) will conduct a post-mortem of this report. This matter should be discussed in parliament.”
Even JD(U) Chief Sharad Yadav said that his “personal opinion” was that a discussion on the CAG report should take place in the House. “But I am bound by the NDA decision too,” Yadav said.
Also, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, meanwhile, appeared to be in favour of a debate, saying the prime minister’s clarification on the coal scam was needed. “We want the guilty to be identified. Action should be initiated against them. And on the basis of that, we will decide on the future course of action,” he said.
Asked about the difference at the party’s routine briefing, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said the NDA was united, and what Tiwari expressed was a personal view. The main opposition party remains adamant on seeking the prime minister’s ouster before a debate can be taken up. “Like A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran, the PM too should resign. It is his moral obligation,” Javadekar said.
Rajya Sabha member from the party Balbir Punj asked as he spoke, “The PM is the prime accused in this case... how can we discuss the scam while he is heading the government?” He asserted, “How can the PM be absolved of responsibility? We will not discuss the report unless he resigns.”
The decision to keep cornering the prime minister in the parliament was taken in the parliamentary party meeting of BJP yesterday morning. M Venkaiah Naidu said after the meeting that the BJP would continue with the demand as it does not have “any confidence in the government”.
Naidu mentioned that LK Advani, who chaired the parliamentary party meeting, said the government had become a burden on the country. Both houses of parliament saw multiple adjournments on the issue, stalling proceedings in both houses.
BJP members walk out of 2G JPC
The BJP members of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the 2G spectrum allocation scam yesterday walked out from a meeting of the committee, calling it a “kangaroo court”. They were upset over former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee being named among those the JPC wanted to interrogate.
They were also miffed as the Congress wanted to summon Arun Shourie, who was the telecom minister during the NDA’s rule. Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha, Dharmendra Pradhan, Gopinath Munde and Ravi Shankar Prasad were among the leaders who walked out of the meeting, which was expected to finalise the list of people who shall depose before the JPC. Sinha alleged that “foul language” was used by Congress members in the JPC.