Parliament adjourned again, all-party meet inconclusive
Under opposition fire for two days, government today launched a counter-offensive on seeking to put BJP and the Left in the dock in Parliament over their suggestions in 2005 against auction of coal blocks. Oppn rejects govt's truce offer | Parliament deadlock continuesdelhi Updated: Aug 23, 2012 14:19 IST
Under opposition fire for two days, government today launched a counter-offensive on seeking to put BJP and the Left in the dock in Parliament over their suggestions in 2005 against auction of coal blocks.
BJP members, who have been demanding resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over CAG's findings on extending undue benefits to the tune of Rs 1.86 lakh crore on coal block allocations, rushed to the Well in both Houses renewing their demand.
Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned till 12pm when they first convened. The Lok Sabha was further adjourned till 2:00 pm while the Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 12:30 pm. The Rajya Sabha was later adjourned for the day.
Countering the opposition offensive, Congress members in the Lok Sabha were seen in the aisles waving copies of newspapers and raising slogans against the BJP. They displayed newspaper reports which said the BJP, in 2005, had told the Centre that auction of coal blocks will hit the industry.
The House plunged into turmoil as members of Opposition and Treasury benches clashed, with Congress members insisting that it was the BJP which had opposed auction of coal blocks and was blaming the Centre for it.
Interestingly, members of JD-U, a key constituent of the BJP-led NDA, did not join the BJP members in the Well. While the BJP has been on the offensive in demanding Singh's resignation, the JD-U has been pressing for a debate.
Speaker Meira Kumar had called for the Question Hour, but had to adjourn the House till noon amid the din.
The Rajya Sabha witnessed ruckus the moment chairman Hamid Ansari took up the first listed business.
As BJP-led NDA members shouted slogans demanding resignation of the Prime Minister, treasury benches countered them by shouting slogans hailing Singh.
"Pradhan Mantri Istifa do (Prime Minister should resign)," shouted the opposition members. In reply, the Congress members shouted "Pradhan Mantri Zindabad" and "UPA Sarkar Zindabad".
Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari adjourned the House till noon and called leaders of various political parties to his chamber for a discussion. The meeting, however, was inconclusive.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is ready to make a strong rebuttal of the charges, Congress sources said, stating that the prime minister would seek to turn the tables on the opposition in his statement by pointing out that state governments of non-United Progressive Alliance constituents had given in writing that there should not be an auction of the coal blocks.
"The prime minister is ready with a reply," a party leader said.
There was a feeling in the Congress that the BJP was deliberately stalling parliament so as to prevent the prime minister from speak on the issue.
The Congress has already rejected the BJP demand for the prime minister's resignation.
The house was adjourned for the second successive day on Wednesday over Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on coal blocks allocation.
Congress sources said the prime minister was likely to point out in his statement that the assessment of a loss of Rs.1.85 lakh crore by the CAG in the coal blocks allocation was misleading.
They said that governments of Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand and Rajasthan (under the rule of the BJP and it allies) and West Bengal (during the Left Front rule) had given in writing that there should not be an auction of the coal blocks.
Referring to the 2006-09 period when the coal portfolio was with the prime minister, Congress sources said that the CAG report had mentioned about 57 blocks but production had started in only one of them.
They said that the Prime Minister was also expected to negate the CAG contention that there was a delay about the law concerning auctions.
The sources said the prime minister was likely to point out that even normal legislative enactment took time because of inter-ministerial consultations and the framing of detailed guidelines.
(With IANS inputs)