Summon PM, Finance Minister: BJP; walkout ‘pre-determined’: JPC chief

The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on spectrum allocations is heading for a showdown.

On Wednesday, BJP members in the panel staged a walk-out protesting the alleged “foul” language used by “first-time” Congress MPs.

Chairman of the panel P.C. Chacko, however, said nobody used provocative language in the meeting and the Opposition’s move was a “pre-determined” one.

Though BJP members pointed fingers at the language used by Congress MPs, the real reason is believed to be the hesitation of the Congress to summon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram before the panel. Congress circles indicated that any such move would create a bad precedence.

The Opposition pointed out that Manmohan Singh, as Finance Minister, had appeared before the JPC on the securities scam in the early 1990s. The Congress countered this by saying that no new facts could be taken from Singh’s deposition, as all files from the Finance Ministry were made available to the JPC.

The Left parties said both the Congress and the BJP were trying to sabotage the JPC.

“JPC has been formed to look at the malpractices in spectrum allocation since 1998. Since the beginning, a section of the Congress and BJP were not serious in the panel’s work,” CPI’s Gurudas Dasgupta said.

He said the Prime Minister and Finance Minister were not above Parliament and should appear before the JPC.

BJP leaders, Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh, Gopinath Munde and others said they would take a call on whether to continue in the JPC or not on Thursday.

Sinha said the Congress members accused by BJP of turning JPC into a ‘kangaroo court’.

Chacko, however, said all efforts were on to bring BJP members back to the JPC.

(This article was published on August 22, 2012)
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