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Jaswant chairs meet, BJP fumes

delhi Updated: Sep 08, 2009 01:34 IST
HT Correspondent

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and some of its allies stayed away from the first meeting of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chaired by expelled party leader Jaswant Singh on Monday.

But the presence of N.K, Singh of the Janata Dal (United) added to the confusion among BJP leaders.

BJP’s deputy leader in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said: “We had asked our four members — Yashwant Sinha, Gopinath Munde, Shanta Kumar and Narayan Singh Kesari — not to attend the meeting to convey to Singh that he must resign as the post belongs to the main Opposition party.”

Kesari did not attend the meeting as he found himself replaced by N.K. Singh. But his name figures in the list of PAC members posted on the Lok Sabha website last updated on August 19.

“We do not know what has happened,” she said.

When contacted, Lok Sabha Secretary General P D T Achary said: “Narayan Singh Kesari is not a member of the PAC. N.K. Singh from the JD(U) is a member. From the BJP, it is only Shanta Kumar from the Rajya Sabha.’’

Government sources said as PAC members are elected, the question of substituting one member with another is not possible. The only possible explanation seems to be a wrongful entry in the website which would stand corrected.

Jaswant Singh, who has rejected the party’s demand to step down as the head of the panel, remained unfazed by the BJP’s boycott.

“I am sure they will participate,” Jaswant Singh, who was expelled by the BJP over his controversial book on Pakistan founder M A Jinnah, said.

He said 15 out of 22 PAC members attended the meeting. “We had a very good first meeting,” Singh said.

Swaraj renewed her request to Jaswant Singh to quit the panel. His view that he will quit only if the Speaker asks him to do so is not right, she said, adding, “The appointment is made by the Speaker on the party’s recommendation.”