Parliament washout echoes at Cong plenary

Congress slammed Opposition BJP for holding the two Houses "hostage" and "subverting" the Constitution.

New Delhi: The washout of the winter session of Parliament had its echo at the Congress Plenary Session on Monday with the opposition BJP slammed for holding the two Houses "hostage" to political expediency and accused of "subverting" the Constitution.

The main Opposition party while reacting to the hard hitting remarks of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in this regard rebutted the charge that it had resorted to political blackmail. The washout of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha had led to an estimated loss of Rs 146 crore to the nation.

"Pranab Mukherjee has chosen to say in a resolution that the principal opposition party has led the Parliament towards almost a subversion of the Constitution. These are not the ways in which the ruling party is expected to come with its answers to the people," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.
Attacking the BJP in connection with the stalling of Parliament over the demand for a JPC probe on the 2G spectrum allocation scam, Sonia in her presidential address said, "Can anything possibly justify bringing Parliament to a halt? Can the Opposition justify undermining the norms on which parliamentary democracy functions."

Sonia said Parliament cannot be held "hostage" to political expediency as it was the forum to discuss and resolve contentious issues.

Making a scathing attack on the BJP, Mukherjee, who is also the Leader of the House in Lok Sabha, accused it of subverting the Constitution by stalling Parliament repeatedly.

He also rejected the opposition demand for a JPC probe into the alleged irregularities in the 2G spectrum allocations contending that the government had handed over the case to CBI last year "whereas the BJP raised the issue only in 2010".
"You (BJP) are asking for a JPC in 2010...The CBI has been probing the 2G spectrum case since 2009. The CBI filed an FIR in the matter in October 2009," Mukherjee said while moving the political resolution at the Plenary session at Burari on the fringes of the national capital.

He contended that a joint parliamentary committee cannot probe any case but only make recommendation to the government.

Ruling out setting up a JPC, he said the oldest watchdog body of the country -- the Public Accounts Committee – has been examining the 2G spectrum issue and simultaneous investigations were being carried out by the CBI, a one-man Commission set up by the Telecom Ministry, Income Tax officials and the Enforcement Directorate.

"What will a JPC do? There is no rational explanation," he said and accused the opposition of subverting the Constitution by forcing repeated adjournments of Parliamentary proceedings.