Speaker's govt-BJP meet fails to resolve JPC issue
New Delhi: In a fresh bid to end deadlock in
Parliament, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar today met leaders of
the government and BJP but failed to bridge differences as the
main Opposition insisted on JPC probe into 2G scam and put the
onus of ending the impasse on the ruling coalition.
Kumar, who fears that the impasse could spill over to the
Budget session after washing out the entire Winter session,
held a luncheon meeting which was attended by Finance Minister
and Leader of the Lok Sabha Pranab Mukherjee and Parliamentary
Affairs Minister P K Bansal and Leader of the Opposition
Sushma Swaraj and BJP veteran L K Advani.
At the two-hour meeting, both the government and
Opposition leaders agreed that the logjam was a matter of
concern but had divergent views on ending it.
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.
"We have not given up our demand for JPC. In fact, we
reiterated it in today's meeting," Swaraj tweeted later.
Party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters that
"BJP's position is that we are asking for a JPC. We are clear
and we are firm on our demand for a JPC."
She made it clear that the onus of ending the impasse was
on the government, saying it has the primary responsibility of
"The responsibility of running the Parliament lies with
the government. We still are firm on our demand for the JPC.
The way out to run the (budget) session is clear. The
government should find a way to take the opposition along,"
the spokesperson said.
The Speaker, however, was hopeful that the deadlock
would end before the next session of Parliament.
"Both sides are very keen that the next session (of
Parliament) should run in order ... I am very, very optimistic
on how the events will unfold," said Kumar who will be meeting
leaders of non-BJP parties tomorrow.
Asked about Kumar's optimism of finding a way out,
Sitharaman said, "Definitely, our hope is this too (that a way
is found out). The government should do some deep thinking and
find a way out."
Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed merely expressed hope
that something would emerge from the process of dialogue.
The entire Winter session of Parliament was washed out
without transacting any significant business because of
opposition-government standoff on the issue of JPC probe into
the spectrum allocation. The opposition parties have threatened to stall the
proceedings in the Budget session, expected to start in the
third week of February, if the JPC demand was not met.
"I am fully convinced that our democracy is very mature.
There might be some ups and downs but whether they are leaders
of the ruling party or the ruling coalition or leaders of the
oppsition they all are very committed to ensuring that
Parliament runs," the Speaker said.
"With this kind of commitment and this kind of attitude,
I am sure with their differing views they will be able to find
a common ground and I am very optimistic that something
positive will emerge," Meira Kumar said.
Noting that Parliament was not able to function during
the Winter session barring the first day, she said, "It is a
cause of concern for all of us and all this while I was
Last week Mukherjee, the government trouble-shooter, had
mooted the idea of a special session to discuss the issue of
JPC but the opposition was quick to reject it and insisted on
BJP and other opposition parties insist that the Public
Accounts Committee, which is already examining the 2G issue,
does not have the powers to fully investigate alleged scam and
a JPC should be constituted. UPA has stuck to its refusal to
accept the demand for JPC.
The Speaker had earlier held a meeting with leaders to
end the impasse but it had failed.
Two all-party meetings called by the government to end
the impasse had also failed.