Tight-rope walk awaits Meira

The Speaker, a political veteran, will have to summon all her Parliamentary skills and hold several sessions with legal brains to arrive at a decision, primarily over the question whether what the PAC chairman submitted to her office on Saturday indeed constituted a report.

Since she is deemed to be non-political in her chair, Kumar will have to tread deftly which requires more than her diplomatic skills she exhibited during her days as Indian Foreign Service officer. The Congress and BJP have taken sharp and diametrically opposite positions on the re­p­o­rt—or is it just a draft report ?—and have already made their views very strongly on it.

Having disrupted the proceedings and going vocal ag­ainst PAC chairman and BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi, even accusing him of destabilising the UPA government and describing the “report” as “outsourced,”  the Congress may not want Meira Kumar to accept Joshi’s report. If the report—which went into 2G scam—is accepted, it will constitute a valid report of the committee.

Any attempt by the LS presiding officer to do the contr­ary will surely take the BJP to the streets and may even put a question mark on the proper functioning of the monsoon session of Parliament. That means the stand-off will continue till the third week of July.
 when the session normally starts. The BJP has already threatened that it will boycott all Parliamentary committees if the report is not accepted by the Speaker.

The other tricky issue which the Speaker may face is the issue of Joshi as PAC chief for the second term running, starting May 1. Joshi’s tenure as PAC ended on April 30. As   he has been renominated, the one-year term will start on Sunday. The Congress has said it will oppose Joshi’s re-appointment which is done by the Speaker in consultation with the main Opposition.

In Parliamentary practice in India, the PAC chairmanship is reserved for a leader from the main Opposition.  

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