Having gone for the jugular saying it would settle for nothing less than the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the ‘coalgate’ issue, the Bharatiya Janata Party has so far drawn a blank in its efforts to rope in other Opposition parties in support of its demand.
The difficulties ahead for the party in sustaining its campaign was evident when the Janata Dal (United), a major constituent of the National Democratic Alliance, openly expressed reservations on the BJP’s strategy of disrupting the functioning of Parliament.
JD(U) president and NDA convenor Sharad Yadav went to the extent of saying that his party was not in favour of the disruption of the House and it was with the BJP for the sake of NDA discipline and unity.
He said there should be a discussion in the two Houses on the coal block allocation issue. The government has already offered a debate.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told journalists that if and when there was a discussion on the coal block allotments, the Prime Minister could intervene and respond to some of the issues causing the Opposition agitation.
Senior BJP leaders have been informally talking to other Opposition parties, gauging their mood regarding its strategy. The JD(U) chief indicated that leaders of the Left, the Telugu Desam Party, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party are all in favour of a discussion.
It is believed that the BJP approached the Trinamool Congress in its attack against the government over the CAG. BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain and Rajiv Pratap Rudy had a “chance meeting” with Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee at the Delhi airport late on Tuesday.
However, sources in the Trinamool maintained that “there is nothing serious” in the discussions.
‘Others had to quit’
For the record, the BJP continued to insist that it would not relent till the Prime Minister steps down. Party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar justified their demand on the grounds that the former Telecom Minister, A. Raja, and the former Textiles Minister, Dayanidhi Maran, had to quit when they faced allegations.
“As A. Raja had to go for the 2G scam, and Dayanidhi Maran had to resign for his role in the Aircel-Maxis deal, similarly the then Coal Minister Manmohan Singh has to go,” said a BJP spokesperson.
He contended that with Dr. Singh at the helm of affairs, a fair investigation will not be possible as he is the Prime Minister and hence in-charge of the CBI.
“The Congress’ appeal for a debate is a sham as they have never respected commitments made in parliamentary debates. Though [in the Commonwealth Games case], the [Shunglu] committee came out with six reports, no action was taken and the report was dumped,” Mr. Javadekar said.