Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Friday, Feb 04, 2011
ePaper | Mobile/PDA Version
Front Page |
Tamil Nadu |
Andhra Pradesh |
New Delhi |
Other States |
Advts: Retail Plus | Classifieds | Jobs | Obituary |
Efforts to find “a via media” to break deadlock assumes new urgency
There is opinion in Congress that the party should not appear totally opposed to JPC
New Delhi: As it became clear that the former Telecom Minister, A. Raja's arrest on Wednesday has failed to appease the Opposition, the government's efforts to find “a via media” to break the parliamentary deadlock took on a new urgency. Ahead of the meeting that Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has called on February 8, there is a growing body of opinion in the Congress that it should not appear to be totally opposed to the idea of a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to investigate the 2G spectrum scam.
Officially, the Congress has not budged from its position and remains opposed to a JPC: the only change is that it is saying that if the Opposition agrees to a debate in Parliament on the 2G spectrum issue and agreement to constitute a JPC emerges either through voting – or consensus – the government will accept that. Party sources added that this is among the offers that will be made by Mr. Mukherjee to the Opposition on February 8.
Asked whether the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was willing to concede the demand for a JPC after a discussion in Parliament, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said: “I cannot comment on the contours of a solution [to end the parliamentary deadlock], but anything is possible if it emerges from a discussion in the House.”
However, while the UPA has a majority in the Lok Sabha, it is in a minority in the Rajya Sabha. So while it would be able to defeat a motion in favour of a JPC in the Lower House, it will find it difficult to do so in the Upper House. Giving an indication of the distance the Congress has travelled, one party leader said, “If we can't block it in the Upper House, we should graciously accept the idea of a JPC.” The debate, for the Congress, is important because it will give it the opportunity not just to present its case, but also to dwell on the role of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the spectrum issue while it was in power.
This is where the Justice Shivraj Patil Committee report on the 2G scam, which is to be made public in the next few days (it was submitted to Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal on January 31), will come in useful for the Congress. For, while the report, sources say, indicts Mr. Raja, it also deals with the NDA years, and could, therefore, provide some fodder for the Congress against the BJP.
Congress sources said the UPA government's primary concern is that the budget session of Parliament, which starts on February 21, should function smoothly – the JPC issue is only a secondary concern. This is because the UPA government, already neckdeep in a variety of scams, cannot afford to have the budget session washed out in the way the winter session was: it will, party sources said, not only make it look like a lame duck government unable even to run Parliament, but it also might make it untenable for it to continue in power.
Party sources said they were mildly optimistic that things would work out because while all Opposition parties remain firm on having a JPC, only the BJP remains adamant about not attending Parliament till the demand for a JPC was accepted.
A majority of the other parties, including the Left parties, told Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar at the meeting she had called on the two closing days of 2010 that they, too, wanted Parliament to function. On that occasion, Congress sources said that even the BJP leaders had accepted that, perhaps, things had gone too far and there was a need to find a face saver for both sides.
Indeed, while the BJP is still firm on carrying on its campaign for a JPC, the Left parties have been saying that the budget session will provide them with an effective forum in which it can corner the government on issues of inflation and corruption.
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | The Hindu ePaper | Business Line | Business Line ePaper | Sportstar | Frontline | Publications | eBooks | Images | Ergo | Home |
Copyright © 2011, The
Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of