The chances of an early end to the winter session loomed as the government-opposition deadlock over a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the telecom scam paralysed Parliament for the eighth day on Tuesday.
Though opposition leaders recall that all four previous JPCs were set up only after House was stalled for days, the government is against a probe by a panel that can summon even the prime minister.
Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee again ruled out a JPC when CPM member Sitaram Yechury met him.
A Congress minister dismissed the possibility of truncating the session slated to end on December 13. But the Opposition believes the Houses may be adjourned sine die after the clearance of financial bills needed to prevent a constitutional breakdown.
Tuesday’s impasse however showed a faint crack in the Opposition. Though one on the JPC issue, the non-UPA, non-NDA formed a separate pressure group and CPM targetted the BJP over the resignation of Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa.
The opposition offensive for a JPC and the Karnataka episode gave some life to a defunct third front. To establish their identity, leaders of 10 non-UPA, non-NDA parties, formed their own group. In a statement, the TDP, CPI (M), CPI, Forward Bloc, JD(S), AIADMK, AGP, MDMK, RLD and BJD attacked the government’s “obdurate refusal’’ to appoint a JPC. The PAC, they said, cannot meet the objectives required for the probe.
“Apart from identifying and nailing the guilty, it is necessary to identify how the system could be so manipulated to result in such a massive scam….” said the joint statement read out by Yechury.
The parties also want a probe into illegal mining and land-grabbing in states such as Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and called for holding the political leadership accountable.
Though some Congress MPs agree to a JPC, spokesman Shakeel Ahmed took a tough stand. “...The Opposition has the right to express its views but it does not have the mandate to force the government to do what it wants,’’ he said.