Government agreeable to JPC to end parliament logjam?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

NEW DELHI - Indicating that the stalemate in parliament over the opposition’s demand for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the 2G spectrum scam could finally end, the government Tuesday told political leaders that nothing was “dearer” to it than letting the house run, sources said.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told a meeting of political leaders from all parties that “nothing is dearer than running the house”, sources said in an indication that the government might agree to the formation of a JPC to probe the financial irregularities in the allocation of second-generation telephony spectrum.

In a renewed effort to break the deadlock, the government’s chief trouble shooter Mukherjee had called a meeting ahead of the crucial budget session, beginning Feb 21.

“The ice (between the government and opposition) is melting A possible way out to end the logjam would be found out before the budget session,” said a leader present at the meeting that lasted for about 90 minutes.

The winter session was crippled by the opposition, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Left, and worries are that the three-month budget session could go the same way.

The BJP and the Left, among others, have been relentlessly sticking to their demand for the JPC probe into the scandal that has cornered the Manmohan Singh government.

The government has so far ruled out the JPC probe into the scam that cost then IT and communication minister A. Raja of the DMK his job months before he was arrested last week.

The BJP has said there would be no parliament if there is no JPC. Its leader L.K. Advani maintains that there is “no dilution” in the stand of the party and its allies in the National Democratic Alliance on the demand.

Ahead of the meeting at the Parliament Annexe, Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D. Raja said the Left was ready to listen to the government to resolve the impasse. But he maintained that the responsibility of running parliament rested with the government.

“We will listen to them and then will take a call. We are for the JPC and the government should accept it. We want the house to function. To run the house is the responsibility of the government,” Raja told IANS.

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