Small parties on panel bandwagon

Senior Congress leader from Kerala P C Chacko is the front-runner for the post of JPC chairman.

The AIADMK, JD (S), BJD, TDP and RLD, who together comprise 61 members in the Lok Sabha, want to have their say with some of them jumping on to the JPC bandwagon.
Their demand is to make the JPC a 30-member panel but the UPA government on Tuesday seemed to be willing to concede a body of 21 MPs. The argument of the Opposition is that more parties could be accommodated if the number is expanded to 30. These parties have written to Speaker Meira Kumar urging her to consider them as a bloc.

CPM floor leader in the House Basudeva Acharia told Deccan Herald that he  sent the second letter to the Speaker on the issue on Tuesday.

“The latest letter contains the signature of the floor leaders of all nine parties. We should get at least three slots from a group of 61 MPs. I am yet to get a reply as the composition of the JPC is yet to be decided,” he said.

The group is keen that AIADMK, which is at the forefront in the attack on 2G spectrum allocation, be added as a member of the group. On its own strength, the Tamil Nadu party cannot become a member of the JPC.

The representation in the JPC is on the proportionate basis which means that only the top seven parties will make it to the panel. Congress, BJP, Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, BSP, JD(U) and DMK are certain to get into the JPC in view of their numbers. There are a total of 37 parties in Parliament.

Sources said that they would be comfortable with a 21-member committee in which the panel would have 14 members from Lok Sabha and seven from Rajya Sabha.

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury demanded on Tuesday that the JPC be a 30-member committee. He also warned the government “not to manipulate (the JPC formation) in a manner to keep certain parties out or certain parties in. We want fair representation,” he said. Sharad Pawar’s NCP is also insisting on membership on the panel.

AIADMK Parliamentary leader M Thambidurai made a strong plea in the Lok Sabha that leaders of all political parties should be given representation in the JPC.

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