Mukherjee meets BJP leaders over JPC

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

NEW DELHI - Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in an attempt to end the deadlock over the joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe issue Wednesday met senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, who, however, insisted that the JPC announcement must come at the beginning of the budget session of parliament.

The meeting followed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s reiteration earlier in the day that he was not afraid of appearing before any committee, including a JPC that the opposition is seeking to probe the spectrum allocation scandal.

Mukherjee met Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitely as part of renewed efforts to ensure that the budget session of parliament beginning Feb 21 does not get obstructed.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad were also present at the meeting.

We requested that announcement for formation of the JPC should be made on (February) 22 itself so that parliament may resume functioning from that very day, Swaraj told reporters, adding that the BJP will not hinder the address of President Pratibha Patil Feb 21 to the joint session of parliament’s both houses.

Swaraj warned that if the JPC is not announced the next day, “the proceedings will be obstructed”.

The BJP leader admitted that there appears to be some softening of stand on the part of the government, but added that her party was adamant on its position.

We reiterated our demand for a JPC… We are hopeful that the government will accept our demand and the impasse will be resolved, Swaraj posted on her Twitter.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he hoped to break the deadlock in parliament over the opposition demand for a JPC probe into the 2G spectrum scandal.

Asked whether he hoped parliament would function normally in the budget session as the opposition was adamant on a JPC, Manmohan Singh said: “We are making all efforts to deal with the issues. We hope for a solution.”

The winter session of parliament was virtually washed out by opposition, which insisted on a JPC probe into alleged irregularities in the allocation of second generation spectrum to telecom companies.

— Indo-Asian News Service

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