With BJP adamant, parliament logjam continues (Roundup)

August 24th, 2012 - 8:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Aug 24 (IANS) Parliament was crippled for the fourth day Friday as the BJP insisted on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s resignation over irregularities in coal blocks allocation.

The main opposition party rejected the government’s requests to let the houses function. But it denied speculation that the parliament session could be curtailed.

The government also rejected the Comptroller and Auditor General report which indicated a Rs.1.85 lakh crore ($37 billion) loss to the exchequer, saying the notion of presumptive loss is flawed.

“If the coal is not being mined, there is no question of gain or loss… the notion of this presumptive loss is flawed,” Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said at a press conference here with Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal.

But the BJP was not impressed.

No business could be transacted in parliament Friday too. Both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha were adjourned till Monday after repeated disruptions by members of BJP and its allies.

Even as Chidambaram made a fervent appeal to the opposition to allow parliament to function from Monday, there was no sign this would happen.

He said the prime minister was ready to make a statement and debate the issue in parliament in whatever manner the opposition wanted.

The BJP refused to buy this.

“We have discussed the 2G and CWG scams earlier, nothing happened,” BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters, adding that parliament was both for debate and fixing accountability of the government.

“The government wants a debate but does not want its accountability,” he said.

Prasad claimed the BJP’s “unconventional intervention” of parliament has benefited the nation.

“Our boycott of parliament in 2010 led the government to auction the 3G spectrum, which fetched Rs.1.10 lakh crore,” said Prasad.

“Similarly, the reserve price of 2G spectrum, which was Rs.1,658 crore in 2008, was fixed at Rs. 14,000 crore in 2012,” he said.

Government sources said there was no clarity if an all-party meet will be called by the Lok Sabha speaker Monday.

BJP sources hinted the party could discuss the future course of action with its National Democratic Alliance partners including the Janata Dal-United and Shiv Sena before deciding to take part in an all party meet.

Amid uncertainty over parliament’s functioning, the government scotched rumours that it may adjourn the ongoing monsoon session sine die.

“There is no question… there are many bills pending,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told IANS.

Bansal said the government will keep trying to restore peace.

“We are talking to them (BJP) daily… We hope a solution will emerge soon,” he said.

Though the BJP has paralysed parliament, but most other opposition groups favour a debate on alleged irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks.

Leaders and MPs from more than half a dozen parties who spoke to IANS said a debate was necessary in both houses to know who the guilty were in what has been dubbed a major corruption scandal.

Barring the AIADMK, most opposition parties outside the BJP-led alliance are reluctant to back the demand for the prime minister’s ouster without the customary debate.

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