BJP turns down Pranab’s offer

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The Hindu, December 24, 2010

We do not want a debate. We want an enquiry: Sushma

?Government must first announce its readiness for JPC?

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday made it plain that it does not want to discuss or debate its demand for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the 2G spectrum allocation scandal, but wants a firm announcement from the government accepting its demand.

The top leadership of the BJP was in Jammu on Thursday where the party’s central office-bearers met and the offer by Leader of the Lok Sabha Pranab Mukherjee of a special parliamentary session to discuss the JPC demand was discussed and rejected.

Leader of the Opposition in the House Sushma Swaraj was reported to have said in Jammu: ?We do not want a debate. We want an enquiry. The government should first agree to set up a JPC to probe the 2G spectrum scam.?

Other voices

Though the BJP has decided to go ahead with its public rallies in a string of cities, including Jammu, to focus people’s attention on what it describes as the biggest case of corruption in independent India, there are some voices in the party that say that it was time the Opposition accepted the fact that the government had ordered a ?multi–faceted investigation? and should drop the JPC demand and let Parliament function.

A senior party leader told The Hindu, on condition of anonymity as he was aware this was not the party line, that a JPC would not be able to do much more than what was being done by the Supreme Court monitored Central Bureau of Investigation probe, by the Enforcement Directorate and the Public Accounts Committee chaired by BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi.

Another leader said some days ago: ?Earlier we could not even see the chair [the Prime Ministerial chair], not even for 2014, but now we have begun sensing that we could get it [power].? There are others in the party who believe that the string of corruption cases that have besmirched the UPA II could even lead to a mid-term poll and the BJP could capture power well before 2014.

This, apparently, has led to the BJP sticking to its stance: no JPC, no Parliament. The party’s Deputy Leader in the Rajya Sabha S.S. Ahluwalia said: ?There is no question of discussing whether to have a JPC or not. They [the government] must first announce its readiness to set up a JPC and then we can agree to not just one special session of Parliament but as many as they [the Congress] wants.?

While some political parties may be loathe to continue disruption of Parliament into the Budget session ? the Left has not yet made its position clear ? the situation will become clearer as the budget session approaches. Till then the confrontation between the Congress and the BJP is showing no signs of abating.

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