Pranab to meet Opposition to end House logjam

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee will hold another round of discussions with the opposition on Monday in yet another bid to break the logjam in Parliament over the Telecom scam.

This was decided at a meeting of Congress core group attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party President Sonia Gandhi as Parliament meets tomorrow after a virtual washout for the last two weeks.

BJP, Left and other opposition parties have been demanding setting up of a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe on the basis of the CAG report which spoke of a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer in the 2G spectrum allocation.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P Chidambaram and Defence Minister A K Antony were among those who attended the meeting at Prime Minister's Race Course Road residence.

Sources said the party is keeping a close watch on the developments in BJP-ruled Karnataka, where Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa is under pressure to to step down following the controversy over allotment of prime land to his sons.

Congress has so far been daring the BJP to take action against Yeddyurappa to puncture the Opposition's attack on the government over the spectrum scam.

But there is a view in the party that this space for Congress will shrink if Yeddyurappa goes.

A section of Congress is of the view that the demand for JPC into the 2G issue should be accepted but its mandate should not be confined to only UPA's period and the decisions on telecom licensing during NDA's period should also be inquired into.

The meeting takes place on a day opposition BJP, which has launched an offensive against Congress on the issue of corruption, is likely to take a call on Yeddyurappa,

The Congress is also flustered over the developments in Andhra Pradesh where a TV channel owned by party MP YS Jaganmohan Reddy launched an attack on Sonia and the Prime Minister yesterday.

The central leadership today sought a report from the state unit on the issue.

"The party has sought a report from the state unit on the issue (telecast of a programme on Sakshi television channel)," AICC Media Department Chairman Janardhan Dwivedi said.

Party spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said a view on the issue would be taken once the report is received from the state unit.

Sakshi, the 24-hour Telugu news channel owned by the Kadapa MP, had launched a frontal attack on Gandhi as well as the organisation in a one-hour programme yesterday.

Congress leaders from the state have reacted sharply to the issue. A senior party leader from the state K Keshava Rao said that there was a "design" behind the telecast and Jaganmohan has "gone too far" and "something needs to be done".

Rao said that Jaganmohan wants the party to take action against him so that he becomes a hero and then form a regional party of his own "but a party like Congress will not act in haste".