Despite pressure from its allies, the Congress continues to stand firm on its position that a joint parliament committee (JPC) was not required to probe the 2G-spectrum scam.
The party’s core group met at PM Manmohan Singh’s residence on Tuesday to discuss the issue that has stalled Parliament for 18 consecutive working days with the Opposition sticking to its demand and some of the ruling UPA partners —Trinamool Congress, NCP and DMK — joining the chorus.
At the end of the 90-minute meeting chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, it emerged that the party was unwilling to consider such a “politically-motivated” demand.
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said there was no rift in the UPA over the issue and that all allies were behind the government. He was authorised by the group to sort out the matter with dissenting allies and hold another meeting with them, if necessary. Party managers are of the view that statements of allies were “mere posturing” to address their respective domestic constituency.
Earlier, the government denied any rethink on the issue. “There is no rethink on JPC. It is a political handle being used by the opposition,” parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said.
Mukherjee took on the opposition. “I don’t know whether opposition leaders are reconsidering and thinking of allowing Parliament to function. If they do so, we will welcome it.”
The reiteration of rejection came despite the NDA’s offer that it was open to the idea of a special session of five days to complete the pending business if the government agreed to form a JPC. “JPC is not required. PAC is fully empowered...” Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said.