While the Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar has convened a meeting of leaders of some of the political parties on Monday to ensure smooth functioning of the budget session of Parliament, the FInance Minister has convened a similar meeting on Tuesday.
With budget session a fortnight away, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government begins a fresh exercise on Tuesday to resolve the deadlock in Parliament on the issue of Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) into the 2G spectrum scam that has seen the Left and the Right taking on the UPA dispensation.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has convened a meeting of leaders of political parties on February 8 in a move to ‘save’ the three-month long budget session after the washout of the month-long winter session on the JPC demand.
The talk in political circles is that a resolution to the deadlock in the meeting itself is unlikely and it could require further consultations given the fact that the opposition is adamant on the JPC while the ruling Congress is against it.
Ahead of the meeting, Congress appeared soft on the issue with party spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan recently remarking that the party was “open” to discussing a resolution which entails voting in Parliament on the issue of JPC.
Her remarks assumed significance in the face of the continuing government-opposition deadlock on the issue, in spite of the arrest of former telecom minister A. Raja.
Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar has convened a meeting of leaders of some of the political parties on Monday to ensure smooth functioning of the budget session after the longest shutdown of Parliament in the winter session on the JPC issue.
She has already held two such meetings including one exclusively with the leaders of the BJP, the main opposition party, and the government.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is sticking to its demand for a JPC probe into the three scams related to 2G spectrum allocation, Adarsh Housing Society and Commonwealth Games preparations, and has accused the UPA government of failing to give any “credible reason” to the opposition to drop its demand.
“We stand by our demand. It continues...there is no dilution,” BJP Parliamentary Party Chairman L.K. Advani had said last week after a meeting of NDA leaders here.
Asked whether the opposition would continue to disrupt the proceedings of Parliament like it did during the winter session, Mr. Advani said the strategy would be decided on the eve of the budget session beginning February 21.
At the meeting, NDA leaders decided to continue to press for a JPC probe into the three scams during the meeting with Mr. Mukherjee on Tuesday.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat has also urged the government not to stand in the way of a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the 2G spectrum scam to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament in its budget session.
He has said that his party would reiterate the demand for setting up a JPC at the meeting of parties convened by Finance Minister.
In a significant statement ahead of the Tuesday meeting, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress has said they do not have a problem with a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe if Congress agrees to it.
“We have no objection to a JPC probe if the Congress agrees to it,” the Trinamool Congress, the second largest party in the UPA after the Congress, said after a meeting of the Railway Minister with Mr. Mukherjee.