Resign, clarify: Opposition call to prime minister

Resign, clarify: Opposition call to prime minister

Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party launched a fresh attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday, differences appeared within the opposition, with BJP ally Janata Dal-United saying it was in favour of a discussion on the government auditor's report on coal block allocations.

Janata Dal-United leader Shivanand Tiwari Wednesday said his party was ready for a debate in parliament.

"We are ready for discussion in parliament... the government should give a clarification over coal allocation," Tiwari said.

"Our party wants parliament to go on," he said, adding, "the PAC (public accounts committee) will conduct a post-mortem of this report. This matter should be discussed in parliament."

Sources say Janata Dal-United Chief Sharad Yadav expressed similar views in a National Democratic Alliance meet Tuesday. A senior Janata Dal-United leader said Sharad Yadav had said there was no benefit in demanding the prime minister's ouster unless other non-Congress parties make a similar demand.

Sharad Yadav Wednesday told reporters at the Parliament House gate that his "personal opinion" was that a discussion on the CAG report should take place in the House.

"But I am bound by the NDA decision too," Yadav told reporters.

Asked about the difference at the party's routine briefing, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said the NDA was united, and what Tiwari expressed was a personal view.

The main opposition party remains adamant on seeking the prime minister's ouster before a debate can be taken up.

"Like A. Raja and Dayanidhi Maran, the prime minister should also resign. It is his moral obligation," Javadekar said.

"The Congress does not have the intention of punishing the guilty. It has a practised procedure. First it denies a scam, then it delays investigations and does nothing," Javadekar said.

Rajya Sabha member from the party Balbir Punj asked as he spoke to IANS: "The prime minister is the prime accused in this case... how can we discuss the scam while he is heading the government?"

"How can the prime minister be absolved of responsibility? We will not discuss the report unless he resigns," he asserted.

The decision to keep cornering the prime minister in the parliament was taken in the parliamentary party meeting of BJP Wednesday morning.

Party leader M. Venkaiah Naidu said after the meeting that the BJP would continue with the demand that the prime minister resign as it does not have "any confidence in the government".

Naidu mentioned that L.K. Advani, who chaired the parliamentary party meeting, said the government had become a burden on the country.

"This government has become a burden... it has become a blot on the nation. That's why it is all the more important that this government goes," Naidu quoted Advani as saying.

Both houses of parliament saw multiple adjournments on the issue, stalling proceedings in both houses.

Communist Party of India Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury, meanwhile, appeared to be in favour of a debate, saying the prime minister's clarification on the coal scam was needed.

"Our party is demanding a clarification from the prime minister. We want those who are guilty to be identified. Action should be initiated against them.

And on the basis of that, we will decide on the future course of action. This has been the position of our party," Yechury said.

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