What next? That’s the big question as the government and Opposition on Thursday stood their ground on demand for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the 2G spectrum scam. The stand-off has cast a shadow over Parliament’s winter session.
In an effort to defuse tension and to counter the impression that the government was shying away from a probe, a section in the ruling coalition spoke of the possibility of allowing a JPC with some riders.
This includes going back to 1998 when the NDA’s role in shaping the telecom policy would also drag BJP leaders into the controversy.
Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee had recently told BJP veteran LK Advani recently that if the opposition wanted a JPC on 2G, it should also agree to such a probe into illegal mining in Karnataka. Members of the main Opposition, privately, however dubbed such a suggestion as “meaningless”. But when it was first mooted by Tamil Nadu chief minister Karunanidhi, the BJP leaders had sidestepped it saying “let the proposal come”.
The Congress is likely to continue to explore the backchannels to find a resolution to the spectrum crisis. Indications of the party-government’s “no JPC’’ stand came even after the Congress Core Group met in the backdrop of the deepening government-opposition deadlock on the issue and the Supreme Court’s observations.
“The status quo remains… There is no change in our stand,’’ said sources later. The government wants the public accounts committee to look into the CAG report on 2G spectrum as procedurally mandated.
But the government will give out its final stand when Mukherjee conveys it, as promised, to Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj.
But if neither the Congress nor the Opposition relent, Parliament will be adjourned for the sixth consecutive day on Friday.
Besides the PM and Gandhi, others who attended the core group meet included A K Antony, P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal and Ahmed Patel.
As the controversy gathered steam, Singh spent the day conferring with senior ministers, pulling up some others for mismanagement and getting inputs from his MPs, some of whom came back with the impression that a JPC may be in the offing.