Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s bid to end the row over the missing coal files and persuade senior BJP leaders to cooperate in the passage of key pending Bills does not appear to have made any headway.
At a late-night meeting with three top BJP leaders on Tuesday, Dr. Singh sought to explain the government’s position on the missing files within the constraints of the fact that the matter is sub judice. The Supreme Court is monitoring the probe into Coalgate.
There was a sense of urgency in Dr. Singh’s initiative as the extended monsoon session is to end on Friday and the Prime Minister would return to India after the conclusion of the G-20 Summit at St. Petersburg on Saturday.
According to sources, there was no commitment by the BJP leaders to Dr. Singh’s appeal. The party is expected to take a position before Parliament is scheduled to recommence at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.
The BJP, which, along with some other Opposition parties, was not satisfied with Dr. Singh’s statement in both Houses on the missing coal files on Tuesday, did not allow Parliament to function for the rest of the day.
The principal opposition party is so furious over a deliberate attempt not to allow senior Opposition leaders to seek greater clarity from the Prime Minister on his statement that it stayed away from a meeting called by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar in the afternoon.
It is believed that the Prime Minister personally called BJP leaders L.K. Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley to sort out the issue. Earlier in the day, the BJP led the Opposition attack in Parliament and expressed dissatisfaction over Dr. Singh’s statement on missing files saying their queries had not been answered and the steps taken to recover the same had not been listed.
“All norms were broken in the Lok Sabha. The Leader of the Opposition was insulted when she was not permitted to speak. Her mike was muted. Even Mr. Advani, who rarely raises his hand to speak, was not allowed,” said BJP spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain at a news conference.