The debate in Lok Sabha on the motion on setting up a JPC saw a verbal duel that showed the ties between the government and opposition were tenuous. The thaw that ended the two-month-old stalemate seemed weak.
As PM Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and NDA working chairman LK Advani watched the duels, the government side seemed upset that the JPC was forced on them, largely on account of a threat to disrupt Parliament again.
The opposition took umbrage at the government’s attack. It accused the latter of being “not being gracious enough” when it had conceded to their demand, pointing to the enormity of the 2G scam and charges involving former minister A Raja.
Winding up the four-hour debate, Mukherjee, however, said, “We will be accommodative. We will travel the extra mile to ensure that these unfortunate events do not recur. We shall have to collectively sort it out.” The House adopted the Motion with a voice vote.
Mukherjee began by saying, “Parliament cannot be mortgaged to the conceding of a demand. If hatred and disrespect for parliamentary institutions was generated, it would lead to the rise of extra-constitutional authorities as in Pakistan.”
Mukherjee also recalled the NDA had refused a JPC on Tehelka expose and Arun Jaitley as then law minister had said “a group of MPs sitting in a JPC cannot substitute debate on the floor of the House.”
Swaraj criticised Mukherjee for dubbing the Opposition as “Maoists” recently. Mukherjee denied he had called the opposition Maoists but admitted he thought the Opposition’s stance could affect Parliament.
Swaraj asked, “Was our demand (for JPC) violent or unconstitutional that you compared us with the Maoists?” Mukherjee reminded Swaraj “either JPC or no Parliament” was not a democratic proposition.
Swaraj also questioned Sibal’s stand that there was “zero loss”. Sibal said she was good at “turning lies into truth and truth into lies.” An angry Opposition, however, forced him to withdraw his remark and apologise. At one point, BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said, “...We don’t want JPC, we don’t want charity...”
Examine policy prescriptions and interpretation by successive govts, including decisions of the Cabinet and consequences, in allocation and pricing of licences and spectrum from 1998-2009
Examine irregularities, consequences in implementation of govt decisions, policy prescriptions
To make recommendations to ensure formulation of procedures for implementation of policy