Parliament logjam: Speaker`s initiative makes little headway

The fresh attempt by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar to break the Parliament deadlock on the 2G spectrum issue appeared to have made little headway on Friday with opposition sticking to its demand for a JPC probe.

New Delhi: The fresh attempt by Lok Sabha
Speaker Meira Kumar to break the Parliament deadlock on the 2G
spectrum issue appeared to have made little headway on Friday with
opposition sticking to its demand for a JPC probe and
insisting that the government take steps in this regard.

Concerned over the virtual loss of the entire Winter
Session, Kumar concluded the second round of her bid to bring
the government and opposition face-to-face to sort out issues
between them.

The Speaker termed her briningig together the government
and opposition for discussions spread over two days as a "step
forward" and voiced optimism as all the leaders felt that the
proceedings of the Budget session should not be disrupted.
"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.

However, some opposition 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

Among those who attended the meeting today, were Finance
Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K
Bansal, 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) and T K S Elangovan (DMK).

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.

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 conveniece and they will be
coming for another lunch and we will be sitting down and
continuing this process," she said.
Talking to reporters separately, leaders of the AIADMK,
CPI(M), CPI, RLD and TDP, insisted on setting up of a JPC to
probe into the alleged irregularities in the 2G spectrum

"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.

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.

Ajit Singh said his party has conveyed to the Speaker
that they wanted the House to function normally in the budget
session but a JPC has to be constituted in the 2G issue.

The Speaker had met Mukherjee, Leader of the Opposition
Sushma Swaraj, BJP veteran L K Advani, Bansal and his deputy V
Narayansamy yesterday.

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.
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.

During the winter session of Parliament, the Speaker had
called a meeting to break the deadlock, while the Mukherjee,
who is the Leader of the Lok Sabha, had convened two meetings.
The three earlier meetings had not had the desired results.