Govt, Oppn head for showdown in Parliament
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Last Updated: Monday, August 01, 2011, 23:46
New Delhi: Government and Opposition were headed for a showdown in Parliament with BJP on Monday attacking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for making "unprovoked" comments about 'many skeletons in opposition cupboard' and alleging that he "micro-managed" the 2G spectrum allocation.

Contending that the Prime Minister was "hands on" and had "minute details" about the controversial spectrum allocation, the main Opposition party demanded answers from him as it prepared to seek a debate in Parliament on corruption under rules that entail voting.

On the first day of the Monsoon Session today, Left parties also decided to seek urgent debate tomorrow on price rise by adjourning the Question Hour.

The government said it will reply to the charges in Parliament whenever any issue is raked up but linked the stepped up attack by BJP to the increasing pace of investigations in some terror cases.

The BJP took strong objection to the Prime Minister's comment that there are 'many skeletons in the Opposition cupboard', saying it was "totally ill-advised and unprovoked" remark that had "vitiated" the atmosphere.

"I have to say with regret that the Prime Minister has vitiated the atmosphere by his unnecessary comment... It was a totally unprovoked and ill-advised comment. The PM's representatives were reaching out to us very positively..... We had also said we want the House to function," Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said.

Jaitley made light of the PMO statement yesterday that when the file noting on 2G spectrum case said the PM wanted to be "kept at an arm's length", he was being "hands-on".

"When Dayanidhi Maran informed the Prime Minister that the entry fee would be decided by him and not by the GOM as a part of their arrangement, was it an alert that a 'hands-on' PM meekly gave in to Maran's request?" Jaitley said.

The opposition also wanted to know why the Prime Minister did not realise after insisting on auction as the only fair methodology, his Finance Minister (P Chidambaram) "suddenly changed his stance on January 15, 2008 that let there be an auction for the future and the past be condoned".

BJP also charged that the then Telecom Minister A Raja wrote nine letters to the Prime Minister giving "minute details" on 2G issue and in all 18 letters were exchanged between them.

"Did it not strike the PM that spectrum was being sold for a song, that there was nepotism in the selection of licensees and the criteria of First-come-first-serve was not being followed?" Jaitley said.

The advancement of the applications date from October 1, 2007, to September 25, 2007, also did not appear motivated to the Prime Minister, he added.

"The Prime Minister has changed his stand several times on 2G scandal. From an initial support to Raja, whom he defended following a well-established policy, he then pleaded ignorance about telecom matters and informed Parliament that he had trusted the judgment of his ministers," Jaitley said.

Later, when Raja and Chidambaram came with an agreed proposal, he "unsuspectingly" accepted the same.


First Published: Monday, August 01, 2011, 15:41

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