After months of its relatively peaceful functioning, the joint parliamentary committee (JPC) looking into the 2G spectrum scam is headed for an internal showdown along political lines.
With bureaucratic depositions coming to an end in May, the panel would now decide on witnesses to be called from among ministers and politicians.
The opposition is set to demand that home minister P Chidambaram and telecom minister Kapil Sibal, among others, appear before the panel.
P Chidambaram was the union finance minister when the 2G spectrum was allotted.
The UPA members — 13 out of the total 27 members of the JPC — are determined to stonewall these ministers’ appearance owing to an apprehension that the opposition may take the opportunity to earn brownie points.
The UPA members, instead, are set to demand that former telecom minister Arun Shourie and some key ministers of the NDA government be called. “The scope of the JPC is not limited to the 2G scam. We are looking into telecom policies since 2008,” said a key Congress member.
A section within the opposition, according to sources, has already started preparing a separate or dissent report, as they see little hope of reaching a consensus in the committee’s conclusions.
“The approach of the Congress members so far has been to shoot down the CAG’s report. They would also not be critical of the role of Chidambaram or the Prime Minister’s Office,” said a top opposition leader.
An opposition leader also pointed out that in previous JPCs, too, divisions between the ruling party members and the opposition had come to the fore. The panel is likely to submit its report by December.