A meeting of UPA allies scheduled on Monday night in the wake of persisting opposition demand for JPC into 2G spectrum allocation was postponed at the last moment.
The meeting convened by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is now expected to be held in a day or two. It had to be postponed as a number of leaders of allies were not in Delhi as they could not get information in time.
The issue of alleged irregularities in the 2G spectrum allocation has paralysed Parliament turning the winter session
into a virtual washout.
"As of now there is no JPC" was the refrain of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal when asked
about allies' pressure on the government to concede to the Opposition's demand for Joint Parliamentary Committee.
"We are under no pressure from anyone. But then we keep on discussing things. It is a dynamic process. Meetings do
take place from time to time," said Bansal, who has made a strong pitch against JPC.
At the AICC briefing, party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi virtually challenged the opposition to bring a no-confidence
against the government on the issue.
"If that is so, then there is only 30-second test. Please do not be misled. The proof of the pudding is in eating. When
the challenge was given (last time), it led to a sheepish dismissal," he said when asked about opposition claims that
the government was in minority with support of 259 MPs in the 543-member Lok Sabha on the issue.
In fact, he spent almost the entire briefing to dub the opposition demand as "short-sighted, completely meaningless,
more of sensationalism and less sense, illogical and political grandstanding."
Besides, he said, the Congress does not agree that the JPC being sought by the opposition was a single-issue JPC,
suggesting thereby that the opposition wants to raise several issues through such an inquiry.
The meeting takes place as the tug-of-war in Parliament on the 2G spectrum issue intensified with non-NDA opposition
parties declaring that nothing short of a JPC will suffice and wanting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to appear before the panel.
"There is nobody who cannot be called. If (former US President) Bill Clinton could be called by a parliamentary
committee and if British Prime Minister could come....what is wrong in inviting our head of the government to explain," CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said after a meeting of 11 non-NDA opposition parties.