Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pranab makes fresh bid to break Parliament logjam

New Delhi, February 16, 2011

After the clearest signal from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) formation to probe 2G spectrum scam, the government on Wednesday made a fresh bid to end deadlock in Parliament as Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee met Bharatiya Janata Party leaders who insisted that the formation JPC should be announced on February 22 to enable the House to function normally.

"We requested that announcement for formation of JPC should be made on (February) 22nd itself so that Parliament may resume functioning from that very day," Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said after the meeting with Mr. Mukherjee.

Ms. Swaraj told reporters that BJP will not obstruct the President's Address on February 21.

"But if the JPC probe that we have been demanding is not announced by the next day, then the proceedings will be obstructed," she added.

Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley also participated in the talks. Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad were also present.

"We reiterated our demand for a JPC... We are hopeful that the government will accept our demand and the impasse will be resolved," Ms. Swaraj said on Twitter.

She maintained during her interaction with reporters that there "appears to be some softening of stand on the part of the government".

The meeting took place close on the heels of the Prime Minister stating in an interaction with editors today morning that he was not afraid of appearing before JPC.

"Full efforts are being undertaken to see that some way will be found (to ensure that Parliament functions). I hope it will happen," Dr. Singh said.

The logjam had resulted in the complete washout of the winter session of Parliament.

Sources said the two BJP leaders insisted that a motion be moved in the Lok Sabha on February 22 so that there is no delay and Parliament functioning is not disrupted.

"We stuck to our demand that a JPC probe is required to unearth details of these three scams (CWG, 2G and Adarsh) However, it is now up to the government to arrive at a decision," Ms. Swaraj said.

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