A difference of opinion has arisen between two of the senior most BJP leaders on the method of probing the 2G spectrum scam. While LK Advani favours a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), Murli Manohar Joshi wants a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of which he is the present chairman. Joshi’s argument is that an Opposition party leader has always headed the PAC while the JPC will probably have a Congress member as its head. The JPC will have to adhere to the terms of reference determined by the government.
The scamsters involved in the 2G spectrum issue must be brought to book at the earliest. But the differences over the nature of the investigation have made it clear that the BJP wants to use this opportunity to play politics. But one fails to understand why the BJP appears to have more faith in a JPC headed by a Congressman than a PAC headed by its own senior leader.
Advani does not favour a PAC probe because it might bring Joshi into the limelight and all his efforts to make him irrelevant will come to naught. But those who concur with Advani feel that a JPC will also enable members of several political parties to gain access to documents. The JPC can also summon anyone it deems fit including the prime minister or any other leader of the Congress and UPA.
The demand for the JPC has held up Parliament for over two weeks. The Opposition is interpreting this resistance by the ruling party as an attempt to cover up something. It is in the interest of all concerned that a fair probe is conducted since it will book those guilty and also exonerate the innocent.
In the past, JPCs have been used as instruments to settle political scores and their findings have left much to be desired. There is no doubt that Joshi’s opinion on a PAC scrutiny is valid but the intention in either case should be to get to the bottom of things. Our politicians, especially senior ones like Advani and Joshi, should not spar with each other on an issue which has repercussions on many institutions.
If the government continues to reject the demand for a JPC and if the Opposition does not come to a compromise on a scrutiny by the PAC, the only option left is to move a no-confidence motion. Advani is against such a move since every Lok Sabha MP wants to serve his full tenure. But, the country cannot be held to ransom and crores of rupees and precious Parliament time wasted. Advani’s fear that a no-confidence motion will be defeated is not an excuse for not using it as a weapon to break the deadlock. At least, it will ensure that political parties in every camp will have to take a stand on the issue of corruption and credibility.
The government must make a fresh attempt to woo the Opposition parties and as a gesture concede some of the demands. The resignation of Central Vigilance Commissioner PJ Thomas could be one option. There has to be some give and take to resolve the deadlock. Between us.