Coal scam hits Parliament, both Houses adjourned
New Delhi: Parliament was on Tuesday stalled by the main opposition BJP and its allies over the Comptroller and Auditor General's (CAG) report on the allocation of coal blocks, with both Houses being adjourned for the day till tomorrow.
As Parliament convened this morning, BJP MPs joined by their colleagues from other opposition parties including AIADMK, Left and TDP raised slogans and trooped to the well demanding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s resignation over the CAG report on coal blocks.
While the government ruled out the Prime Minister’s resignation saying the BJP should look at its own role in the allocation of coal blocks when the NDA was in power, it did add that it was ready for a discussion on the issue in Parliament and the PM was also ready to make a statement on it.
However, the BJP said it was not interested in the PM's statement.
“We just want him to quit," said BJP's Prakash Javadekar.
Another BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu said the UPA government was not taking any action while the nation's wealth was being looted.
Union Telecom Minister and senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal defended the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying the government was ready for a discussion on the issue in Parliament.
Earlier, as soon as the Lok Sabha met for the day, opposition members trooped into the well raising slogans to pin down the government on the basis of the CAG reports.
The CAG reports have estimated "undue benefits" of over Rs 3.06 lakh crore to private parties in coal block allocation without bidding, Delhi Airport development and diversion of coal to a power project.
Amid uproar, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar first adjourned the House till noon and then for the day till tomorrow.
In Rajya Sabha too, almost the entire Opposition led by BJP Deputy Leader Ravi Shankar Prasad and M Venkaiah Naidu, and Shivanand Tiwari (JD-U) were on their feet and raised slogans as soon as the House assembled.
The BJP-led NDA demanded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's resignation, while Left parties wanted the government to spell out its stand on the three CAG reports.
Amid din, the House was adjourned till 12 noon.
After the Rajya Sabha reconvened at 12 noon, there was brief respite from the sloganeering and shouting when Congress member PJ Kurien was unanimously elected Deputy Chairperson of the House.
However, immediately after his election the shouting started again and the House was adjourned for the day.
Meanwhile, top BJP leaders held a second meeting in two days today to discuss their strategy to be adopted in Parliament on the alleged coal blocks scam.
The BJP yesterday made it clear that it will stall both Houses of Parliament on the issue.
Sources said the BJP will aggressively pursue the resignation of PM Singh who held the coal portfolio at the time of allocation of the coal blocks.
The BJP also attacked the Prime Minister's Office for allegedly keeping in abeyance the policy of bidding in coal block allocation in a "bid to favour" certain people.
BJP has held the Prime Minister "morally, politically and personally" responsible for the Rs 1.86 lakh crore loss estimated by CAG in coal block allocation and demanded his resignation.
(With Agency inputs)