Speaker hopeful of way out, opposition parties stick to stand

Monday, February 7, 2011

NEW DELHI - With just two weeks to go for the budget session, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar Monday expressed hope that parliament would function normally even as the opposition parties stuck to their demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the 2G spectrum scam.

The government has convened a meeting Tuesday with all political parties to break the logjam on the issue.

The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said Monday there was no change in its demand for JPC.

We want JPC. We also want the parliament to function, BJP spokespersons Nirmala Sitharaman said.

She said that all opposition parties were demanding JPC.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury said that arrest of former communications minister A. Raja and the findings of the Shivraj Patil committee had reinforced the demand for JPC into the 2G spectrum controversy.

He said that the party wanted the parliament to function but the government should not remain obdurate.

Asked if the Left parties will agree to a discussion on the need to have a JPC, he said there wasn’t any such proposal from the government.

CPI leader D. Raja said the government should accept the demand for JPC. He said the party will respond after learning of the proposals made by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee at the meeting of political parties Tuesday.

Leaders from smaller political parties who attended a meeting called by Meira Kumar Monday, said that the government was not in agreement with the opposition’s demand for JPC.

A leader said that Mukherjee told them that the Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate and Public Accounts Committee (PAC) were already looking into the 2G spectrum issue.

The speaker, who had met leaders of BJP and Left parties in December in an effort to break the deadlock that led to washout of winter session of parliament, said that attitude of members was very positive.

I believe the House will run, she said.

Kumar said that many suggestions had been received and a middle-path could be found so that the Parliament functions.

The budget session of Parliament is scheduled to begin Feb 21.

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