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Monsoon session to be paralysed

Gearing up: BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar with the three CAG reports which were tabled in both Houses of Parliament in New Delhi. — V.V.Krishnan
Gearing up: BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar with the three CAG reports which were tabled in both Houses of Parliament in New Delhi. — V.V.Krishnan

The three performance audit reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General on the coal scam, Ultra Mega Power Projects and the Delhi International Airport have once again landed the UPA Government in political hot waters.

This time, the Opposition has demanded the resignation of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as he was holding the charge of the Coal Ministry during the period. He held the Coal portfolio during the five of the eight years, which were audited by the CAG.

When the report of the CAG on allocation of 2G spectrum licences came out, the Opposition had disturbed the proceedings of an entire session. The Opposition leaders have made it clear that this time, they are not seeking any further probe into the coal scam, but the Prime Minister’s resignation.

Both the Houses are likely to be disrupted next week on the reports. “The Prime Minister is morally, politically and personally responsible for this wrongful loss. He must seriously introspect on accepting the moral responsibility for this loss and quit his office,” said leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley. His Lok Sabha counterpart Sushma Swaraj added that the issue will be raised in both the Houses of Parliament.

The Left parties have also demanded that the Prime Minister should answer to Parliament why the modus operandi for transparent allocations was not worked out.

The Government and the Congress are also geared up to face “any onslaught” from the Opposition. The UPA has been maintaining that the BJP and Left-ruled States were opposed to the amendments to the mining law, so that licences could be given through a bidding process.

“We are ready to discuss any thing with the Opposition. A number of legislations of public importance have to be taken up in this session,” Minister of State, Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla said. The Congress sources said they are “confident” of dealing with the crisis.

There are indications that the Government may announce a probe into the issue, if the Opposition takes an adamant stand on the issue. The Prime Minister is also likely to issue a statement in both the Houses. The BJP, sources indicated, will try to isolate the Prime Minister and attack him in the issue in an effort to address a section of the middle-class constituency, who are now backing Team Anna Hazare.

The CPI(M) has decided to take up the other two CAG reports than coal scam.

“The Government should immediately take back the amount illegally collected from passengers as user fee by the Delhi International Airport. Despite taking up this issue in and outside Parliament, the Prime Minister’s negligence caused such a big loss to exchequer,” CPI(M) MP KN Balagopal said.

jigeesh.am@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 18, 2012)
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