Govt unwilling to set up JPC on 2G spectrum scam
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Last Updated: Friday, November 26, 2010, 19:49
New Delhi: Finding itself in a bind, Government on Friday said it would pursue efforts to end the 11-day-old stalemate in Parliament but made it clear that it was in mood to accept the opposition demand for a JPC probe into the 2G spectrum scam.

"We will certainly make an effort" was the refrain of Paraliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal when asked whether the Government was still hopeful of a resolution to the issue.

The minister said another meeting between the Government and Opposition could be possible early next week to resolve the issue.

Bansal, at the same time, accused the oppostion of waging a "political battle" on the issue of corruption.

"It is not their desire to unearth corruption. Their only intention is to make a political battle and nothing beyond. The issue of political battle needs to be fought politically," he said.

Recalling the two formal meetings held with opposition leaders to resolve the issue, he said their twin purpose was to summon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or the ministers before the JPC and extend JPC's role to examine the controversial taped conversations involving the induction of ministers.

Bansal said Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj and CPI's Gurudas Dasgupta had raised these issues in the second all party meeting convened by Pranab Mukherjee.

"They want JPC to look into the formation of the government, which no Parliamentary committee can do. No committee is above Parliament. How a minister was inducted cannot be looked into by a JPC," he said.

He also added that "expecting Prime Minister before a committee is demeaning and insulting to his office. Prime Minister does not belong to a party. He is the head of the government. The very thought of calling Prime Minister before the JPC is not acceptable"

The minister said the Prime Minister "has nothing to hide" and he can answer to any questions of the opposition in the House if the issue is debated.

Bansal also hinted that the government may consider discussing the issue of corruption under a rule which entails voting depending upon the wordings of the motion.

"The best course would be discuss the issue in the House. Prime Minister will be available and he can intervene and reply," he added.

To a question on what conditions, the government would engage the opposition to resolve the issue, Bansal was not forthcoming, saying "negotiations and talks can never be stopped".

He said that the government is not "per se against JPC" but quickly added it is not required in this case.

The JPC was set up when there were no Standing Committees. It was continued even after setting up of Standing Committees in 1992 and the successive governments at the Centre have sometimes accepted the demands for JPC probe and sometimes rejected it, he said.

Bansal also ruled out chances of adjourning the Parliament session sine die before December 13, when it is scheduled to end.

"As of now there is no decision on it. Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs has not met to consider the curtailment of the House," he said.

Government managers meanwhile said Parliament could take serious note of the alleged taped converstations between lobbyists and corporate houses and refer them to the Privilleges Committee or Ethics Committee.

They said the committees can either suo motu take note of it or some reference could be made to the Speaker for taking up the issue.


First Published: Friday, November 26, 2010, 19:49

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