BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on Thursday stuck to its demand for the Prime Minister’s resignation on the coal block allocation issue at a meeting convened by the Rajya Sabha Chairman, besides boycotting a meeting called by the Lok Sabha Speaker on the matter.
The meeting called by Upper House Chairman Hamid Ansari saw BJP and Congress members throwing barbs at each other on the continuing deadlock in Parliament. While all of them acknowledged Mr. Ansari’s “bona fide” intentions of ending the impasse, they did not budge from their stated positions.
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, is understood to have stated that Parliament is also about accountability and this role cannot be jettisoned by the government. Congress leaders said Parliamentary practices were going downhill and blamed the opposition’s attitude for this.
The BJP countered this by mentioning that the Congress had stalled Parliament for 20 days when the Tehelka issue came up during the NDA regime, sources said.
The Left parties alleged that the coal allocation issue had now become a Congress versus BJP fight. They suggested that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh call an all-party meeting to end the deadlock, the sources said.
The meeting remained inconclusive and Mr. Ansari is likely to convene another meeting soon, they said.
A meeting to end the impasse in Lok Sabha called by the Speaker Meira Kumar was boycotted by the NDA. The SP and the BSP also stayed away from it.
Later, NDA leaders held a meeting chaired by its working chairperson L.K. Advani. Sources said NDA members decided to continue with their demand for the Prime Minister’s resignation.
Khursid slams BJP
Taking a dig at the BJP for asking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to follow the example of A. Raja who quit after facing graft charges and resign, Law Minister Salman Khurshid on Thursday said the opposition party should also follow some precedent and not disrupt Parliament proceedings.
“They (BJP) should also follow some examples of people who come to Parliament and put the case to Parliament. They can’t change the rules and they can’t lay down the rules,” Mr. Khurshid told reporters outside Parliament House.
Attacking the BJP for disrupting Parliament proceedings, he said, “You have to follow the rules of Parliament and you have to follow the rules in the games of democracy and sadly they (BJP) want to keep changing the rules and shifting the goal post. This is not acceptable.”
Mr. Khurshid said people are “screaming for Parliament to function and the opposition will not hear” as they are not willing to listen to the truth and “it is absolutely irresponsible...Putting Parliament in peril, putting a question mark on Parliament, putting the reputation of Parliament at stake because you don’t want to hear the inconvenient truth.”