Leaders to continue discussions for smooth functioning of Parliament

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on Friday held talks with non-BJP leaders in her attempt to break the Parliament impasse on the 2G spectrum issue.

New Delhi: Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on Friday held talks with non-BJP leaders in her attempt to break the Parliament impasse on the 2G spectrum issue and hoped that
the Budget session would run without interruptions.

However, some leaders did not appear to share the same optimism and insisted that a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe was the only way out to break the Parliament logjam.

Leaders of several parties including the Trinamool Congress, Shiv Sena, Akali Dal, Samajwadi Party, RJD and the National Conference did not attend the luncheon meeting called by the Speaker to find a solution to the deadlock.

Among those who attended the meeting, were Agriculture Minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Sharad Yadav (JDU), M Thambidurai (AIADMK), Nama Nageshwara Rao (TDP), Ajit Singh (RLD), Dara Singh Chauhan (BSP), Basudev Acharia (CPM),
Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI), Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD).

"The leaders met in a very cordial, friendly and informal atmosphere and have decided to ensure that the next session runs without interruption .... they have decided that they
will sit down together and find a solution," the Speaker told reporters after the two-and-a-half hour meeting.

She termed the meeting as a "step forward" as all the leaders felt that the proceedings of the next session should not be disrupted.

Kumar said those leaders who could not make it to the meeting today will be called for discussions at a later date.

"Those leaders, who for some reason were not able to come today, I will be finding their convenience and they will be coming for another lunch and we will be sitting down and
continuing this process," she said.

The AIADMK wanted the government to come forward to "listen to the feelings of the opposition".

"We are ready to cooperate with the government on Parliamentary procedures but we want constitution of the JPC as only the JPC can bring out the whole 2G spectrum scam,"
Thambidurai said.

"We cannot get anything from other forums. Therefore, we have made it very clear that without a JPC nothing can come out," he said.

Speaking in similar vein, Acharia said that the CPI(M) did not want disruption in the House but it was unable to understand the resistance in the government to a JPC probe.

"What is the problem with having a JPC? Why is the government not doing it? Government should come forward with a solution for this," Acharia said.

Dasgupta (CPI) said he wanted the Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee to take a lead in finding a solution to the deadlock over the 2G scam.

Observing that a "point of no return" cannot continue in a Parliamentary system, he said he had appealed to Mukherjee to take a lead in finding a soultion which is acceptable to

Emerging from the meeting, RLD chief Ajit Singh said his party has conveyed to the Speaker that they wanted the House to function normally in the budget session.

"But, as the opposition has been demanding, a JPC has to be constituted in the 2G issue. How this will all happen... a way will have to be found out," he said.

The Speaker had met Mukherjee, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj, BJP veteran LK Advani, Parliamentary Affairs Minister PK Bansal and his deputy V Narayansamy in yet another attempt to end the deadlock.

Almost the entire winter session of Parliament was washed out without transacting any significant business as the opposition-government standoff on the issue of JPC probe into
the spectrum allocation forced repeated adjournments of both the Houses.

The BJP leaders made it clear that they would accept nothing less than JPC probe into the scam, which the government is not ready to accept.