Govt. may not accept demand for PM’s statement
The deadlock over missing files of coal block allocations is likely to continue on Thursday when Parliament re-convenes after a day’s break. For, the government is unlikely to accept the demand of the Opposition for a statement from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The continued standoff inside and outside Parliament has put a question mark over passage of the Food Security Bill as time is running out for the Congress with only eight days of sitting left this session.
The row is also likely to cast a shadow on the passage of the pension and insurance Bills. Both the government and the BJP had reached an understanding on the passage of these Bills.
But “we want the PM to make a statement as to how the very important files, crucial to Coalgate investigation, have gone missing. The missing files raise a serious question on efforts to save someone. Since the Prime Minister held the Coal portfolio, we expect a serious reply from him,” BJP Deputy Leader in the Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
At an all-party meeting convened by Speaker Meira Kumar on Tuesday, Congress floor managers ruled out the possibility of Dr. Singh making a statement. They said Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal had made a statement and was ready to give further clarifications, if required.
However, CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta and members of other Left parties suggested a way out: Mr. Jaiswal be allowed to make a statement, following which the Speaker could allow a discussion on the issue. Dr. Singh could intervene and put across his point of view. The Congress floor managers sought time to discuss the issue with the leadership and said they would come back with a response.
“The government can also seek the help of the Comptroller and Auditor-General to get crucial information about the missing files as it had done a scrutiny of the coal blocks concerned and given its recommendations. But there seems to be no will on the part of the government to bring out the truth,” Mr. Dasgupta said.