Government makes fresh bid to break parliament stalemate

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

NEW DELHI - Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will Tuesday meet leaders of all political parties in a renewed effort ahead of the budget session to resolve the deadlock over the opposition’s demand for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the 2G spectrum scam.

Mukherjee called for the all-party meeting to ensure that the crucial budget session, beginning Feb 21, runs smoothly. 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 relentlessly stuck to their demand for the JPC probe into the scandal that has cornered the Manmohan Singh government.

The government has ruled out the JPC probe into the scam that cost former 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 with its leader L.K. Advani maintaining 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.

The budget session of parliament begins Feb 21. The government will present the general budget in the Lok Sabha Feb 28.

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