Launching a counterattack on the Opposition parties, which are targeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Coalgate, Corporate Affairs and Power Minister M. Veerappa Moily on Saturday claimed that it was “meaningless and foolish” to blame the Prime Minister for the collective decision on allocation of coal-mines made by a screening committee, which included even representatives from the State governments.

Speaking to reporters here, Mr. Moily said, “We have had representatives from BJP-ruled State governments as well, while dealing with proposals regarding the allocation of coal blocks. This being the case, it is foolish and meaningless to blame the Prime Minister for the entire episode.” Referring to the fact that the present system of allocation of coal-mines has come under criticism from various circles, including the CAG, which has termed it non-transparent, Mr. Moily said such a system had been followed even by earlier governments, including the NDA.

He didn’t agree with the CAG’s estimation of loss to the government due to “non-transparent” allocation of coal-mines. “Nobody has mined the coal or transported it. Where is the question of loss?”

The report of the CAG will be examined by the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament. In this process, the PAC would get the clarification from the Minister concerned with respect to the CAG report, and come out with its own report, which would be tabled in Parliament, he said.

Asking the Opposition parties to be patient till the PAC came out with its report, he said they should understand their role as well as responsibility in a democracy and act accordingly.

Election agenda

Meanwhile, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was also in the city on Saturday, described the BJP’s disruption of Parliament as an “election agenda,” which had backfired, with the public losing all sympathy for it. He said the party “wasn’t interested in knowing the truth.”

“This negative attitude has turned the tables on the BJP itself,” said the Minister, adding that the party’s allegations were “presumptive” and “misleading.”

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