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Coal scam: UPA to put up united face

UPA is expected to put up a united face on Wednesday to counter opposition demand for resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

New Delhi: UPA is expected to put up a united face on Wednesday to counter opposition demand for resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the CAG reports on coal block allocation and two other issues.

The first meeting of UPA Coordination Committee is being held here after the tabling of the CAG reports, which the opposition is using to target the Prime Minister.

A firm view is building up in the government that the ruling alliance has to take head-on the "unsubstantiated" findings of the government auditor, a senior minister said on Tuesday.

The CAG reports have estimated "undue benefits" totalling over Rs 3.06 lakh crore to private parties in coal block allocation without bidding, Delhi Airport development and diversion of coal to a private power project.

"The feeling is that we have to take it (the situation arising out of the CAG reports) head-on. If we succumb, we will be finished," the minister, who declined to be identified, said.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who could not attend the first meeting of the Coordination Committee earlier this month, will be present tomorrow as she is arriving here tonight for the purpose.

A section of the UPA is of the view that the government should not be averse to set up a Joint Parliamentary Committee if demanded by the Opposition and if it could ensure a smooth session of Parliament.

This section also feels that the contentious issue of FDI in retail should be kept in abeyance till the controversy over the CAG reports is defused.

Interestingly, Trinamool is against opening up the retail sector to FDI.

Government managers are worried over the "over-activism" of the CAG and feel that its reports will damage public-private partnership (PPP) projects and infrastructure development in the country.

The government and Congress have responded aggressively to the CAG reports, insisting that they were incomplete without being examined by Parliament`s Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

They have been sharply critical of the CAG accusing it of not following the Constitutional mandate, crossing the line and having the "habit" of adding zeros to its reports.


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