Parliament deadlock: All-party meet called by Mukherjee remains inconclusive

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

NEW DELHI - The all-party meet called by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to resolve the deadlock in the Parliament ahead of the ‘Budget Session’ ended inconclusively on Tuesday with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Opposition sticking to their demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the 2G scam.

In an endeavor to ensure that the ‘Budget Session’ of Parliament functions smoothly, Mukherjee had called for a meeting of leaders of all political parties, but they put forth the view that the government should agree to the allegations of corruption in allocation of 2G spectrum and that this should be probed by a JPC.

On Friday, Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said: “We are open to discussing such a resolution in Parliament.”

Natarajan denied the Congress was making the suggestion of a resolution, saying that the idea was already in the public domain. She also denied the party was softening its stand on a JPC.

“Our position (on JPC) remains the same. The Public Accounts Committee has the power to go into the issue,” she said to a direct query whether the Congress was ready for a JPC.

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar has convened a meeting of leaders of some of the political parties on Monday to ensure smooth functioning of the Budget Session after the longest shutdown of Parliament in the Winter Session on the JPC issue.

She has already held two such meetings including one exclusively with the leaders of the BJP and the government.

Earlier on January 23, Mukherjee expressing confidence that the ‘Budget Session’ of Parliament will function smoothly, said that he would soon hold parleys with the opposition parties over the issue.

“I will have discussions with the opposition party. Earlier Speaker called two meetings. In those two meetings, it was decided that I should also have discussions with the various opposition parties,” said Mukherjee on the sidelines of the 24th All India Builders Convention here.

“I do hope it would be possible for us to find out a solution. So that the budget session can be, business can be transacted in the budget session, smoothly,” he added.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) created a logjam during the Winter Session of Parliament over the demand for setting up of a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into 2G-spectrum scam.

Former Telecom Minister A. Raja was forced to resign last year after a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) faulted him for undervaluing spectrum to favour companies who were largely ineligible for 2G spectrum, and added that the government had probably lost Rs.1.76 lakh crore in estimated revenue.

The Budget Session of Parliament will begin on February 21.

The General Budget is to be presented in the Lok Sabha on February 28. (ANI)

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