Allow PM to make statement on coal issue: Shourie

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Journalist and former Union Minister Arun Shourie
The Hindu Journalist and former Union Minister Arun Shourie

Former Telecom Minister Arun Shourie today said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should be allowed to make a statement on the coal blocks allocation controversy in the wake of the CAG’s findings, saying the Opposition gained nothing by stalling Parliament over the issue.

“...Prime Minister was the Minister-in-charge (handling Coal Ministry). He must be given the opportunity to explain the facts as he sees them,” Shourie, who was a Minister in the A. B. Vajpayee Government, told presspersons here on the sidelines of an event.

On BJP disrupting Parliament proceedings, Shourie, said “As I understand it, the grievance of the Opposition is not the debate but that nothing happens after the debate.”

“Therefore some politicians are let off and that is their grievance. But once Government demonstrates action that will follow then there will be no problem. In the end the Opposition does not gain much by disrupting Parliament,” he said.

Shourie, however, said while the Opposition takes a stand, it “finds a reason not to pursue” it after five days, recalling the BJP’s boycott of Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in Parliament demanding his resignation over the 2G scam.

“After a few days everything was forgotten and Chidambaram continued to speak in Parliament and they said nothing,” he said. If the MPs felt ‘outraged’ they should be Gandhian and not compromise. Otherwise it seems “it’s just for the moment.”

He alleged the Centre had no intent to retrieve black money deposited by Indians in foreign tax havens.

On Chidambaram being re-assigned the Finance Ministry, he said, “No doubt country is suffering from his budgets; of the deficits which he pioneered, of the populist schemes which he included; of the off-budget items which he did not include in the budget and all of which had inflationary consequences.”

“He is very likeable and intelligent person. I hope his subsequent budgets will be better than his past budgets,” Shourie said.

(This article was published on August 25, 2012)
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