Cong may decide on JPC on Friday

Congress is expected to reveal by Friday its stand on the issue of setting up of a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the 2G Spectrum scam.

Last Updated: Nov 18, 2010, 20:09 PM IST

New Delhi: Congress is expected to reveal by Thursday its stand on the issue of setting up of a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the 2G Spectrum scam amid indications that the ruling party is averse to the Opposition idea.

"I don`t think that the party will agree to JPC demand," a senior leader, who declined to be identified, said after the Congress Core Group grappled with the issue at an hour long meeting.

Senior minister and Leader of the House in the Lok Sabha, Pranab Mukherjee, who was to get back to the Opposition on the government`s stand on their demand, is yet to contact the leaders.

Earlier in the day, the party sent signals that it may be prepared to consider setting up of a JPC but with a rider that its terms of reference should also include the licensing decisions taken from the period 1998 when the BJP-led NDA came to power at the Centre.

The JPC has become the bone of contention between the government and Opposition which has paralysed Parliament for the last five days.
The top brass of the ruling party including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party chief Sonia Gandhi heard leaders telling the Core Group meeting that giving in to JPC was fraught with danger as it would lead to Opposition clamour for a similar probe on every issue.

An influential section is staunchly opposed to such a probe and a Union Minister, who was a participant in the high-level meeting, also ruled out a JPC probe in any eventuality.

The AICC has, however, kept the cards close to its chest after the Core Group meeting but opposition leaders said that the government has promised to get back to them on the issue after the parleys.

The newly-appointed Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal was present in the Core Group meeting, which was attended among others Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister AK Antony, Home Minister P Chidambaram and the Congress President`s Political Secretary Ahmed Patel.

There was no offical word about what transpired in the meeting and what was the decision taken.

Meanwhile, AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi came out in strong support of the Prime Minister saying the party "had stood, is standing and will stand" by him and that "in the whole world, no one doubts the integrity of our Prime Minister. He is an able and noble person and the party is fully with him".
His remarks came in wake of the Opposition`s mounting attack on the Prime Minister, which demanded an explanation from him in the wake of the Supreme Court observations as to why there was delay in granting sanction to prosecute former Telecom Minister A Raja.

PTI