BJP to rope in allies for quit PM demand

BJP to rope in allies for quit PM demand

Party rules out en masse resignation by MPs

BJP to rope in allies for quit PM demand

As its approach of disrupting Parliament proceedings to corner Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the UPA government over the coal scam found no takers among other opposition parties, the BJP on Thursday appeared to moderate its stance.

The party sought to coordinate with other other opposition parties in order to hammer out a common position to confront the government.

Towards this end, the main opposition party roped in the Jayalalitha-led AIADMK to attend a meeting of the NDA constituents on Friday, called to chalk out strategy to corner the government on the alleged irregularities in coal block allocation.

With Parliament being disrupted for the third consecutive day as the UPA and the Opposition locked horns once again, it was suggested that Manmohan Singh should hold a meeting with BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitely to find an amicable solution to the impasse.

The CPM, which has been lenient on the prime minister till now and even advocated that he be given an opportunity to explain his stand on the alleged irregularities, said the party will take a call after the prime minister gives his statement.

Meanwhile, hectic parleys and back-channel talks are underway to end the present stalemate. The BJP has escalated efforts to force the prime minister to demit office. BJP sources said the party will chalk out its future course of action on Monday, after the all-party meet called by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar.

Poor response

The BJP had stayed away from a meeting of floor leaders called by Kumar on Thursday. Another meeting of floor leaders called by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari also ended on a futile note.

Commenting on the present scenario, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who met Sushma Swaraj on Thursday, said: “Let’s see. I hope that by Monday the matter will be resolved...I am trying to settle it by Friday.” It appears that the BJP's call for the prime minister's resignation has failed to garner any noteworthy response, even from its allies in the NDA.

None of the NDA constituents have so far supported the BJP, while the Trinamool Congress, which has opposed the Centre on numerous occasions in the recent past, demanded an all-party meeting on the issue.

The Congress, however, vehemently defended Singh. Talking to a group of Congress MPs comprising Sandip Dikshit, Deepinder Hooda, Jyoti Mirdha, Anu Tandon, Ranee Narah and Sanjay Nirupam, party president Sonia Gandhi said: “Aggressively counter the offensive launched by the BJP. We have to attack. They (BJP) cannot take people for granted.”

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, said: “At times, this way of protest is legitimate to bring pressure on the government. We succeeded in the 2G issue. This (coal scam) is a monumental loss to the Government of India and loss of taxpayers money while it gives huge profits to the private parties, and this happened under the prime minister.” Meanwhile, BJP leader Yashwant Sinha brushed aside reports speculating en-masse resignation by the BJP MPs to protest the government’s inaction. “This is the purest speculation that I have heard  in the recent days,” Sinha said.