All-party meet fails to break Parliament logjam

All-party meet fails to break Parliament logjam

All that Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who had convened the luncheon meeting, told the leaders was that he would get back to them after taking up the matter with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The meeting attended by several leaders including Leaders of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj in Lok Sabha and Arun Jaitley in Rajya Sabha could not make headway with the opposition remaining adamant on the JPC demand.

BJP, JD-U, Shiv Sena and SP wanted a JPC and no other opposition party opposed the demand, said RLD chief Ajit Singh, who sought setting up of an Inquiry Commission.

Singh said the government insisted that the Public Accounts Committee could do a great job in finding out the truth in the matter and the JPC will be out of place in this issue.

Mukherjee, who is the Leader of the Lok Sabha, convened the meeting as government's hopes of normalcy returning to Parliament after the resignation of telecom minister A Raja proved futile and opposition remained belligerent on the JPC demand.

Trinamool Congress, the second largest ally of the Congress in the UPA, however, suggested a discussion in the House and said that if majority wanted JPC, it should be constituted.

DMK, whose member A Raja had to quit as telecom minister over the 2G issue, said it would go by the government's decision in the matter. NCP said JPC would not serve the purpose.

"No solution on JPC," said Mukherjee after the meeting.

"We want the House to run. We do not want disruptions. We are not averse to JPC," said Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) as also D Raja (CPI).

Raja and Yechury said that though they were willing to consider any other "credible form" of inquiry, they felt that the PAC would not serve the purpose. They threw the ball in the government's court on breaking the impasse.

Government managers, however, said the opposition appeared confused on the issue of JPC and it was not clear whether to have one or three JPCs to probe the Adarsh Housing Scam, Commonwealth Games mess and 2G Spectrum allocation.

In the meeting, Mukherjee appealed to the opposition to get back to business ruing that so many days have already been wasted due to disruptions.

Mukherjee later told reporters that while the opposition parties were insisting on having a JPC, he explained to them the difficulties in instituting such a probe.

"I told them that the issue has to be discussed within the government and within the party and I will get back to them tomorrow," he said.

The meeting saw Mukherjee strongly objecting to the opposition's demand for JPC into Adarsh Housing issue, which led to resignation of Ashok Chavan as Maharashtra Chief Minister saying it was a state matter and could not be taken up by JPC.

Opposition members, however, argued that it is still to be made clear whether the particular land belonged to the state government or Ministry of Defence.

After the meeting, Yechury said that there was no alternative offered by the government and no suggestion made on how to proceed with investigations into the all the three issues.

Stressing that a JPC into the Spectrum scam was "the best way out", the CPI-M leader said the PAC inquiry would not be sufficient as it would not be able to go beyond the CAG report.

"JPC would be able to go into reasons and factors, which led to certain decisions, why such decisions were taken and who was responsible. These issues are outside the purview of PAC," he said.

Biju Janta Dal, however, favoured constituting a Commission of Inquiry to probe the matter.

Jaitley said, "Conflicting view-points were discussed in the meeting. We will meet again."
NCP leader Praful Patel said while the opposition has its own set of demands, there were other pressing issues, which were being neglected in Parliament due to frequent disturbances.

Meanwhile, sources in the government say that the case is already being investigated by various agencies including CBI. "What more will the JPC achieve? Multiplicity of investigations will only lead to overlapping," a senior minister said. 

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