BJP veteran L K Advani on Monday termed as “deeply disappointing” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement on coal allocation and said the defence mounted by the Government on the issue resembles the reasons given by Congress at the time of imposing Emergency.

“I am deeply disappointed by the statement of the Prime Minister,” he said in a reply to a question on Dr. Singh rebutting all charges in alleged coal block allocation scam.

“In the days of Emergency, the Prime Minister of the ruling party had said they had to impose it due to judiciary and state of democracy. This is the same thing when the PM blames federalism (Opposition-ruled states apparently opposed competitive bidding of coal blocks), the Law Ministry and attacks constitutional bodies like CAG,” he said.

“Today I recollect that one of the Speakers (of Lok Sabha) had said that to attack CAG is to attack a constitutional body. And now when the Prime Minister himself is doing it, this is very surprising,” said Mr. Advani, who was hear to attend a function.

“Supreme Court has said one of the salient features of the Constitution is federalism and he is blaming federalism for corruption,” the former Deputy Prime Minister said.

“Prime Minister’s action of blaming the Law Ministry is also disappointing. The Ministry had done the right thing by saying that coal blocks should be given by auction. The Ministry’s suggestion of 2004 has been brought to the fore in 2012 by the CAG report,” Mr. Advani said.

“Thankfully, the Prime Minister has not said there was zero loss (in coal allocation). What he has said he will have to look and then come to conclusion about the actual loss.

This is different from the Finance Minister (P Chidambaram) saying that this was another zero loss case.”

Mr. Advani demanded that the Centre cancel all 142 coal mining licences given under UPA II and put them for auction.

He said there was no difference within BJP-led NDA regarding the Opposition stand on the coal issue. “Leaders of Akali Dal in the House have told us they were with us on the issue and there is no difference within the NDA on it.”

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