Calls for Dikshit’s ouster over CAG report stall parliament(Roundup)

August 8th, 2011 - 8:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Aug 8 (IANS) Parliament was stalled Monday by an impasse between the government and the opposition, which is demanding Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s ouster following the government auditor’s report indicting her for deep flaws and over-spending in the 2010 Commonwealth Games preparations.

Tumult returned to both houses of parliament as soon as members reassembled in the morning after the weekend and two days of peace last week.

As the Lok Sabha met, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies demanded the house scrap the crucial question hour and take up discussion on the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report.

The house was adjourned till 12 noon first and then for the day amid pandemonium by the BJP, Left and Samajwadi Party members, who shouted slogans against the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

In the Rajya Sabha, opposition members were on their feet the moment proceedings began on the first day of the second week of the monsoon session. BJP members trooped to the chairman’s podium and chanted slogans demanding that Diskhit quit. The house was first adjourned till noon, giving question hour a miss, and the for the entire day.

Talking to reporters outside parliament, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said two other reports had already proved corruption in Dikshit’s government.

“When the (Delhi) Lokayukta indicted Rajkumar Chauhan (a Delhi minister), they said the Lokayukta report was not correct. Now the CAG report is here. They say it is only an audit report, but there is also the Shunglu Committee report which indicts the chief minister,” Javadekar said.

The BJP has been gunning for Dikshit since the CAG tabled the audit report on the Commonwealth Games held in Delhi Oct 3-14 last year.

The 743-page audit report has pointed out irregularities in organising the biggest international sporting event in India.

It said that “inexplicable delays” in decision making had put pressure on timelines and led to the creation of “an artificial or consciously created sense of urgency”, escalating the cost of works related to the games.

The report in particular referred to Dikshit without naming her, saying the street lighting project in Delhi was a decision “taken with the active involvement of the chief minister” which resulted in “avoidable expenditure of more than Rs.30 crore”.

But the government stuck to its guns in defending the Congress chief minister who returned to power for the record third consecutive term in January 2009.

“There is no indictment of anyone in the high office, leave aside that of Sheila Dikshit,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said opposition MPs were raising slogans “based on total misinterpretation and misreading of the facts”.

Bansal punched holes in the CAG report, saying the chief minister’s direct mention was in the executive summary only while in the main report there is “no indictment whatever” of Sheila Dikshit.

In a related development, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) moved separate privilege notices in both houses against Sports Minister Ajay Maken for his statement that the decision to appoint now jailed Suresh Kalmadi as the games Organising Committee chief was taken during the NDA rule.

In the Lok Sabha last week, Maken said the paperwork was already signed by the BJP-led government that ensured Kalmadi’s appointment. The BJP accused Maken of misleading the house.

“I have not misled the house. I stand by my statement that the Prime Minister’s Office is not involved (in the appointment of Kalmadi),” Maken said in his defence.

The government leaders said they were ready to discuss Maken’s statement in parliament but not the CAG report.

“Our job is to break the impasse in parliament and talk to the opposition to ensure the smooth functioning of parliament. We have talked to the opposition, which is demanding a discussion on the statement of Maken,” said Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla.

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