Parliament adjourned till Monday over 2G

Friday, November 19, 2010

NEW DELHI - Both houses of parliament were adjourned till Monday as they could not function for the sixth day Friday as opposition MPs persisted with their demand for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to probe the 2G spectrum allotment scam.

As opposition members continued their protest, both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were adjourned till Monday and very little business was transacted.

Parliament has practically not functioned since the winter session began Nov 9 with the opposition demanding a JPC probe.

As soon as the Lok Sabha assembled Friday, opposition members, including the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and its allies, the Left parties, Samajwadi Party and AIADMK shouted slogans demanding a JPC and a clarification from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the 2G spectrum scam.

Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the lower house till noon. Protests continued when the house re-assembled. Francisco Sardinha, who was on the chair, rushed through some business and then adjourned the house till Monday.

Some opposition members moved towards the speaker’s podium, shouting slogans at Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and other ministers who were laying papers on the table of the House.

The Rajya Sabha also started with opposition protests and Chairman Hamid Ansari adjourned the house within minutes.

Protests continued when it assembled again. Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan then adjourned the house till Monday.

For the past six days, the opposition has been demanding a JPC probe into improper allocation of 2G frequencies to telecom companies by Raja that is estimated to have cost the exchequer Rs.176,000 crore (Rs.1.76 trillion/nearly $40 billion).

The government has not responded to the demand inside the house. Outside parliament, Congress spokesman Manish Tewari told reporters that the “Congress was not running away from the parliament”.

“We are ready to debate issue at any appropriate forum,” Tewari said.

On Tuesday, the government tabled the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the 2G spectrum allotment in both the houses amid protests.

Ahead of the CAG report, communications minister A. Raja resigned Sunday night. The CAG report indicted Raja and said he functioned “arbitrarily”, causing huge revenue loss to the public exchequer.

However, Raja’s resignation did not satisfy the opposition. They have been demanding a JPC probe which they claim could unravel more facts about the 2G spectrum scandal.

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