Govt put nominated member to JPC to "rig": Jaitley to Ansari

BJP lodged protest with Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari against government putting nominated member in JPC on 2G spectrum scam to ensure its majority and alleged this move is aimed at "rigging".

Last Updated: Aug 29, 2013, 23:13 PM IST

New Delhi: BJP on Thursday lodged a protest with Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari against the government putting a nominated member in the JPC on 2G spectrum scam to ensure its majority and alleged this move is aimed at "rigging" the panel`s report.
In a letter to Ansari, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said all Parliamentary committees-- known as miniature parliaments--have proportional representation from political parties.

He rued that this rule has been flouted by the government which got a motion passed by a voice vote to put nominated member Ashok S Ganguly as a member of JPC to fill a casual vacancy caused by the retirement of DMK MP T Siva.

The BJP maintained that a member of AIADMK or TMC should have replaced Siva as per the current composition of the Rajya Sabha.

With Ganguly`s appointment, the government has, in a way, ensured a majority of one for itself in the 30-member JPC--20 MPs from Lok Sabha and 10 MPs from Rajya Sabha.

The Committee now has 12 members of the ruling UPA -- Congress-11 and NCP-1. Among its outside allies, SP has one member and BSP two members.

Opposition camp has BJP-6, BJD-1, TMC-1, CPI-1, CPI(M)-1, DMK-1 and AIADMK-1. JD(U), which recently split with BJP, has two members.

"The 2G spectrum allocation was rigged by the government. Rigging the composition of the JPC will only enable the government to rig the JPC," Jaitley said in his letter, according to a party source.

Jaitley has sought to know whether Ansari feels the "winner takes all" or that the norm of proportional representation be followed. Filling a casual vacancy as this one by a voice vote will mean the winner with 51 per cent (the ruling party or coalition) majority takes all.

"Ever since the inception of Parliament the parties are represented on committees in proportional representation," Jaitley reportedly said in his letter, adding that this principle is also judicially recognised.

The main opposition feels the Chair should reconsider the appointment of Ganguly, and a debate be held in the House on whether the winner takes all. It is likely to demand a detailed ruling from the Chair on this issue and consider withdrawal of the order.

BJP is of the view that since JPC is discussing a sensitive issue it is important that proportional representation is followed as otherwise the government will use its majority to overrule the opposition in the panel, especially during preparation of the final report.

PTI