Today's 2G JPC meet may be stormy

Today's 2G JPC meet may be stormy

Today's 2G JPC meet may be stormy

A Joint Parliamentary Committee meeting scheduled for Thursday to adopt the draft report on 2G scam is set to be a stormy affair with Opposition parties gearing up to corner Committee Chairman P C Chacko for giving a clean chit to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram.

Committee member and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha on Wednesday reiterated his earlier demand that the prime minister should appear before the panel.

The non-Congress members in the 30-member JPC are expected to press for a vote on the controversial draft report, a demand which Chacko may accept.

The panel’s meeting will be crucial for the UPA Government as its outcome will set the agenda for remaining business of the Parliament session which has failed to transact any business since its resumption on April 22. The Congress is also trying to muster numbers to defeat the Opposition strategy as it is a prestige issue for the ruling dispensation.

The BJP, which is trying to working hard to get numbers to reject the draft report through voting, is in touch with “like-minded” members to get support. Sources said BJP leader Yashwant Sinha and T R Baalu of the estranged Congress ally DMK are in touch with parties like the BJD and the Left to oppose the draft report.

In his letter, Sinha said: “ The JPC is facing the risk of a complete stalemate if not total destruction. We shall deal with issue in the meeting of the JPC on April 25.”  Chacko, however, told Deccan Herald on Wednesday that he would suggest that any member wanting to give a dissent note would be free to do so and it would be appended in the report when it is tabled in Parliament.

He said he will “try to make them (Opposition members) understand that voting is not a precedent. It is not normally done.”

At the same time, however, he said rules provide for voting and “if they insist, then we may have to go for vote”. 

It seems the panel is almost equally divided and the role of SP, BSP, AIADMK and Trinamool Congress, with a total of five MPs in the committee, is yet to be known.
In the JPC, Congress has 11 members, including its chief Chacko and its ally NCP has one. BJP has six members and NDA ally JD-U two.

DMK and BSP have two members each while SP, BJD, TMC, AIADMK, CPI and CPM have one member each. The probe panel which was set up in March 2011, is expected to table its report on 2G scam in Parliament by May 10 when its term ends.

“Your silence will confirm the worst fear of the people of India that you were fully involved in the 2G scam and if Raja is guilty so are you”, Sinha wrote in his letter to the prime minister.

Citing allegations made by former telecom minister A Raja that the prime minister was aware of all decisions he took, Sinha in his letter said: “Is it not time Mr Prime Minister that you speak on these issues by appearing before the JPC?.

You had said in your letter of April 2 (to Sinha) that you had nothing to hide. Your deafening silence on the allegations made by your own colleague in the Cabinet completely disapproves the stand you had taken,” he wrote.

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