In what can be seen as further toughening of the UPA's stand against the BJP, the list of witnesses for the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on 2G scam will now be finalised through majority decision.
This effectively rules out the chances of accepting the BJP's demand that both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and finance minister P Chidambaram appear before the panel.
BJP members created uproar in the last meeting of the JPC over summoning the PM and FM and even walked out. But on Thursday, JPC chairman P C Chacko told HT, "I can't decide on who should come as witnesses. The list will be prepared by majority decision." The UPA-that is opposed to summoning of PM or other top ministers or bureaucrats-enjoys a majority in the committee.
It has also roped in non-BJP opposition members who are not adamant on calling PM.
"If others don't want the PM and the finance minister to come, they can be sent questionnaires," said CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta.
Prime Minister on Friday, however, said "It is for the JPC to decide" when asked if he would appear before the panel. According to Chacko, Chidambaram too, has no objections in deposing before the JPC.
"But it doesn't mean, I will tell BJP whatever they want to hear (calling PM, FM as witnesses) as members will decide on it," Chacko said.
The UPA is also undeterred at the BJP's threat to boycott JPC. "If the BJP members want to walk out permanently, it's their choice. But the JPC will function," said Chacko. Sitaram Yechury too said, "There is no reason to boycott JPC."
The UPA's stand in the JPC is seen as a part of the Congress' overall strategy to counter the BJP after it stalled the ongoing parliament session.