Coalgate: Adamant BJP, Parl session set for washout



New Delhi: The remaining part of Monsoon Session of Parliament appears headed for a washout with BJP adamant on its demand for resignation of the Prime Minister over coal block allocation and on Sunday pooh poohed suggestions this issue should be debated only in the House.

BJP's tough stand emerged even as it stood isolated among opposition parties, many of whom favour a debate instead of disruption. Within NDA too, key constituent JD-U is uneasy with BJP's unrelenting stand due to which Parliament has already lost one full week. The session ends on September 7.

Making it clear that BJP was not ready to give up its offensive over CAG report on coal block allocation, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said, "The onus is now on the Prime Minister to accept the responsibility for what has happened."

Jaitley also accused the UPA government of being "arrogant and despotic" in the matter of "arbitrary and discretionary" allocation of 142 coal blocks.

"It has been suggested that since the Prime Minister himself was the Coal Minister we should assume that this decision was fair. The Prime Minister’s office is a sacred institution in Indian democracy. It has to be judged by standards much harsher than those which would apply to Ministers like Shri A Raja", Jaitley said in an article released by the BJP today.

The BJP leader said suggestions that the issue should be debated only in the Parliament will put a lid on one of the "greatest scandals" in Indian history.

"We, in the Opposition, are not interested in merely the issue being talked out through a one-day debate in Parliament," he added.

BJP sources said the party will not give up its stand on seeking Singh's resignation and will not allow Parliament to function even if it is alone.

Other opposition parties like TDP and BJD are also not in favour of going with BJP on its stand. SP and BSP too want a discussion rather disruption.

The government wants Parliament to function so that the Prime Minister could make a statement to rebut the charges, contending that there were "inaccuracies" in the "misleading" CAG assessment of loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore.

Jaitley also alleged, "Disturbing information has surfaced that a valuable public resource was being allocated arbitrarily with the underlying condition of political funding of the party in power." He claimed PMO officials dealing with Coal ministry files were not unaware of what was going on.

PTI