Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar will be well within her rights to seek from Public Accounts Committee Chairman Murli Manohar Joshi the opinion of all panel members on the draft report on the 2G spectrum scam he has submitted to her office, the Congress said on Saturday.
“She could ask to see their signatures,” a Congress functionary said. As a majority of the PAC members had rejected the report, the legal status of the document was that it was Dr. Joshi's report, not the PAC draft report. “There can be no report till the committee members adopt it,” the functionary said.
The Congress continued to train its guns on the Opposition, even as its members of the PAC met the Speaker to present their side of the story. Officially, the party said it was erroneous to describe the draft report as representing the PAC's views, as it was a partisan document of the BJP and the Left parties.
Asked what Dr. Joshi could hope to achieve from submitting to the Speaker what the Congress described as a “non-report,” the party functionary said: “This is Dr. Joshi's swansong — he wants to make a big splash and tell his party, ‘Look at what I have done for you.' It's intended to give him a competitive edge over [senior BJP leader] L.K. Advani.”
However, Congress sources admitted that it was the BJP's prerogative to re-nominate Dr. Joshi as PAC Chairman, since the committee is always headed by an Opposition leader. “We've no role in this,” a Congress MP said. “All we can do is to point out that he is biased.”
Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi has said: “It is not clear whether Dr. Joshi is addressing the nation or his own party or whether he is now in the race to become Prime Minister in waiting.”
Stressing that the Congress was no wiser as to how the draft report was leaked and why Dr. Joshi walked out of the meeting without testing whatever support he had on the committee, Mr. Singhvi asked: “Why was no formal vote recorded? Why are there repeated references in the draft report to depositions of persons such as the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister when they never took place? The report is about the 2G scam, but Mr A. Raja [ former Communications Ministers] was not questioned.”