JPC on 2G? Cabinet may decide today

Amid hints that govt could agree to a JPC, the Cabinet may discuss the issue on Tuesday.

New Delhi: Amid hints that the government
could agree to a JPC probe into 2G scam, the Union Cabinet may
discuss the issue on Tuesday when it meets to consider the
President`s address to Parliament on the opening day of Budget
Session on February 21.

The Cabinet is meeting primarily to approve the
Presidential address to the joint sitting of Parliament in
which government comes out with its policies for the year and
views on various topical issues.

During the meeting, the Cabinet is also likely to take a
view on the JPC issue that has been the cause for a stand-off
between the government and the opposition and led to the
washout of the entire Winter Session of Parliament.

The government, which has so far resisted setting up of
JPC, is now understood to be ready to announce it but not
before a discussion is held in Parliament over the issue of

The issue is understood to have been discussed today at
the Congress Core Group meeting, chaired by party President
Sonia Gandhi.

After the meeting, the Congress gave indications that it
might not be averse to a JPC to probe the 2G scam if the
opposition is ready for a prior debate and agree to modalities
for such an inquiry.

"Democratic institutions must be allowed to function...
What modus operandi is for the Government and the
opposition to work it out," party spokesman Manish Tewari
told reporters.

He said Congress has been consistently demanding a
debate in Parliament on the issue.

"Opposition should not run away from a debate. The demand
for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe should not become a
subterfuge to run away from debate. Debate on the floor of the
House is a fair, legitimate and just demand", he said.

A senior Congress leader, on condition of anonymity,
said if the cost of running Parliament is JPC, then let it be.
But if at all a JPC is to be conceded, it should not be
preceding a debate in Parliament.

He said while no decision has been taken by the ruling
dispensation on the JPC issue, the same depended upon the
attitude of the opposition on the terms of reference as also
prior debate.

The ruling party also wants to keep the S-band issue
away from any such probe claiming that it is "no scam".

The Congress is keen that such a probe covers the
BJP-led NDA`s stint in power and is claiming that the main
opposition will have a lot to answer. The CBI summons to Arun
Shourie, former Telecom minister in the NDA rule, is being
cited by the ruling party.

With the entire Winter Session going waste over the JPC
issue, ruling circles feel that a section of the opposition
could still disrupt Parliament even if a JPC is agreed to.


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