BJP indicates climbdown from 'quit PM' demand
New Delhi: BJP on Sunday gave further indication of a climb-down from its stand on the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying the government was yet to respond to the NDA offer of resolving deadlock in Parliament if the controversial coal block allocations were cancelled and a judicial probe ordered.
The indication was given by senior BJP leader LK Advani in a blog post which came the morning after the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj tweeted that discussion in Parliament could begin if the government cancelled the coal block allocations and ordered a "fair and independent inquiry".
"The NDA has offered to resolve the deadlock if all the allotments made are cancelled and the process whereby the screening committee has decided these allocations is subjected to a judicial probe. The government is not yet prepared for this," Advani said in a blog post today.
The BJP had been unrelenting on the demand for the Prime Minister's resignation over which it has disrupted Parliament for two weeks.
Like Swaraj's comments last night on a micro-blogging site, Advani's blog also did not have any mention of the BJP's demand for Singh's resignation.
Advani kept up attack on the Prime Minister on coal block allocation issue and said his explanation in Parliament on the matter was "totally unconvincing".
Strongly defending Chhatishgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh on the issue, he said his party colleague was "fully justified" in demanding a share in the revenues earned by the state as a result of competitive bidding and this cannot be construed as opposition to auction of coal blocks.
Advani said it was now "universally acknowledged" that
allowing discretionary allocation of precious resources like spectrum, oil, gas and minerals gave ample scope to people harbouring corrupt and collateral intentions.
"The 2G spectrum scam has been a recent instance to prove this. The price of Rs 1,658 crore fixed for an all-India licence in 2008 was not the market value then. No wonder, under adverse market conditions, in 2012 the government itself has fixed the base price for 2G auction at Rs 14000 crore," he said.
"If NDA's demand that the discretionary allotment of coal already made should be scrapped and the coal blocks be auctioned is accepted and implemented, the truth would surface as to what is really the fair price presently," he said.
Advani said he was "intrigued to find that Federalism ... was sought to be blamed by the Prime Minister in his totally unconvincing explanation" in Parliament on the coal block allocation issue.
"Repeated reference was also made to reservations supposed to have been voiced by some BJP Chief Ministers as if the decision to reject the Law Ministry's recommendation that there should be competitive bidding for the coal blocks was taken because of BJP Chief Ministers more prominently Dr. Raman Singh of Chhattisgarh," he said.
The BJP sought to draw a parallel with a situation during the Emergency when the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had told German journalists that the decision to impose emergency was taken by Chief Ministers.