No one wants a repeat of Parliament's Winter session — the scenes of the Houses being adjourned repeatedly and virtually no business being transacted for 23 days.
But, on the eve of finance minister Pranab Mukherjee's meeting with the leaders of political parties to ‘save' the budget session from February 21, there was little to show a forward movement.
The question of a JPC into the 2G spectrum scam plagued both the sides. While the opposition parties — the NDA and the Left — were expecting Mukherjee to come with a new proposal, the Congress remained firm on its 'no JPC' stand.
Instead, it appeared to be trying to divide the Opposition and get a section of it to help it run Parliament. Congress sources indicated that first few days of the session would be crucial and the Opposition unity will be a key factor in determining the future course of action.
As the Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar completed a third round of talks — with independent MPs and one man parties — Mukherjee rejected the JPC demand once again.
Inder Singh Namdhari, independent MP from Chatra, said, "Mukherjee said a JPC will lead to duplication. He said the CBI, Enforcement Directorate and the Public Accounts Committee are already looking into the issue. What will JPC do? It will also ask for investigation which is already being done."
The speaker said, "Their (MPs') attitude was a very positive. I am very happy and believe that the House will run on February 21 (when the budget session starts)," she said.
Asked whether putting a motion to vote or discussion was an option or a suggestion, the Speaker said, "putting it to vote I have not heard of, but debate I have heard of." CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said arrest of A Raja and findings of the Shivraj Patil Committee have reinforced the JPC demand.