Pranab struggles to end logjam

 “I have not been able to find a solution. I do not know how to resolve this impasse. We are trying. Let us see,” Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters here on Thursday.

Parliament failed to function for the 10th successive working day on Thursday as the Congress remained adamant, refusing to budge to the Opposition’s demand for setting up a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe into the controversial spectrum allocation for the 2G mobile services. 

Like the previous days, both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were adjourned first till noon and then for the day in wake of the pandemonium in both the Houses.  Following the adjournment, CPM leader and Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury met Mukherjee to explore ways to break the stalemate. He sought to reason with Mukherjee on the Opposition’s demand for a JPC pointing out that the Congress too had forced repeated adjournments in the House in the wake of the Tehelka expose during the NDA rule.

However, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said the government had firmly rejected the Opposition’s demand for a JPC probe.

He also ruled out an early end to the winter session, which began on November 9, asserting that the government was in favour of functioning of both the Houses till December 13 as planned originally.

Replying to a question, Bansal said he told the opposition parties that if their only objective was to summon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and some other ministers, that was not acceptable. “Today, I told the Opposition that if that is your objective (summoning the PM and ministers) that is not acceptable. If you have the courage and conviction, come and discuss the issue in the House,” he said.

Bansal added that during the NDA rule, the then government too did not accept the demand for a JPC probe into the Tehelka expose and the coffin scam.

Asked about the government’s plans to deal with the situation if the Opposition moves a no-confidence motion, Bansal said “if such a thing happens, we cannot stop it. But the Opposition will get a beating.”

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