PM attacks CAG, BJP won’t give up (Roundup)August 27th, 2012 - 7:16 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Aug 27 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday attacked the official auditor for suggesting huge presumptive losses from coal blocks allocation and said allegations of impropriety hurled against him were baseless.
But a combative Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) insisted that the prime minister should take moral responsibility for the presumptive Rs.1.86 lakh crore ($37 billion) loss and resign.
With parliament paralysed for a week, Manmohan Singh sought to defend himself and his government in both houses of parliament, but the BJP again shouted him down. He then laid a statement on the table.
“I want to assure the members that as the minister in charge, I take full responsibility for the decisions. I wish to say that any allegations of impropriety are without basis and unsupported by facts,” he said.
“The facts … show that the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) findings are flawed on multiple counts. The premise of the CAG is flawed. The observations of the CAG are clearly disputable,” he added.
Later, speaking to the media outside parliament, Manmohan Singh said parliament was not being allowed to function “and BJP is determined to disrupt normal functioning of parliament”.
“We have a strong and credible case. They (CAG) will be challenged when the matter comes before the PAC (Public Accounts Committee),” he said.
The BJP was unrelenting.
Alleging kickbacks in the allocation of 142 coal blocks, BJP’s Sushma Swaraj told the media: “We want him to accept moral responsibility. The PM is responsible for the revenue loss. That is why we want him to go.”
She said all the coal blocks allocated without auction to private and state-run firms should be cancelled and these should be auctioned afresh.
She alleged that the Congress had made “mota maal” (big money) from the allocation, pointing out that 142 coal blocks were given away in just four years (2006-10) compared to 70 over a 12-year period (1993-2005).
BJP’s Arun Jaitley asked the government to cancel all 142 coal blocks that were given away mainly to private parties and auction them afresh.
“Only then will the truth or otherwise of the PM’s statement be known. In the 2G case, history vindicated CAG,” he said of the second generation spectrum scandal.
“The rationale for cancellation is that nobody should be allowed to enjoy the fruits of a corrupt allotment at the cost of public exchequer.”
Although the BJP’s insistence that the prime minister should resign does not have the backing of the entire opposition, his comments Monday seemed to unify the opposition parties.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) also asked the government to axe all allocations found faulty by the CAG and auction them.
The Congress and its allies again asked the BJP to give up its stand and let parliament function.
Law Minister Salman Khurshid said the BJP was unreasonable in demanding the prime minister’s resignation.
CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury refuted Manmohan Singh’s claim that states like West Bengal wanted the coal blocks to be allotted and not auctioned.
He said West Bengal, ruled by the Left until last year, had never opposed auction of coal blocks but only insisted that the state’s interests should not be bartered away.
Communist leader Gurudas Dasgupta called the prime minister’s statement “lame duck” and faulted the prime minister for attacking the CAG.
But he clarified that he did not want Manmohan Singh to go, as this would lead to mid-term polls. He also attacked the BJP for stalling parliament.
With the BJP not ready for a compromise and the Congress taking an aggressive stand, parliament is expected to remain crippled well until the monsoon session ends Sep 7.
The BJP denied it was isolated on the issue.
“But if we have to fight it out alone, we will be do it. It would be a majestic isolation because popular opinion would always be with us,” said Jaitley.
- PM attacks CAG, BJP won't give up (Intro Roundup) - Aug 27, 2012
- BJP wants PM to go, targets Congress too (Lead) - Aug 27, 2012
- Opposition mounts pressure on UPA, Congress hits back (Lead) - Aug 27, 2012
- Resign on moral grounds, BJP tells PM - Aug 27, 2012
- Willing for debate on coal allocation after PM resigns: BJP - Sep 05, 2012
- PM's defence of coal blocks allocation unconvincing: Advani (Lead) - Sep 02, 2012
- CAG report is clearly disputable, flawed: PM (Second Lead) - Aug 27, 2012
- PM can't evade responsibility in coal block allocation: BJP - Aug 31, 2012
- No mining in any allocated coal block, says BJP - Aug 28, 2012
- BJP rejects zero-loss theory on coal scam - Aug 25, 2012
- BJP is misleading country on coal issue: Congress - Sep 13, 2012
- We respect CAG, says Congress after BJP complains to president - Sep 12, 2012
- No loss in coal block allocations: Government (Lead) - Aug 24, 2012
- SC judge should probe coal allotment, say SP and Left - Aug 30, 2012
- BJP slams UPA, demands cancellation of coal blocks - Sep 10, 2012
Tags: allegations, arun, bjp, coal, comptroller and auditor general, crore, houses of parliament, impropriety, jai, kickbacks, manmohan, manmohan singh, moral responsibility, New Delhi, paralysed, premise, prime minister manmohan, prime minister manmohan singh, public accounts committee, sushma swaraj