In a sign of a subtle climbdown by the BJP from its hardened position on the coal block allotments issue, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and senior party leader Sushma Swaraj on Saturday refrained from reiterating Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s resignation as a pre-condition for allowing Parliament to debate the matter.
Swaraj tweeted late Friday night about Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s talks with her to end the monsoon session impasse.
“Yes, Mrs Gandhi spoke to me on phone. She wanted the Parliament impasse to end by our (BJP) agreeing to a discussion. I told her the government should announce the cancellation of coal blocks (allotment) and institute a fair and independent inquiry. Then we could have a discussion,” the tweet read.
While the demand for cancelling the coal block allotments — brought under the scanner by a damning CAG report — remains, the initial demand that the Prime Minister step down was not mentioned by Swaraj in her tweet.
While some BJP leaders chose not to comment, one party leader, requesting anonymity, said: “We still demand that the PM resign, taking moral responsibility for gains of up to Rs. 1.86 lakh crore for private companies. Swaraj’s tweet is only about the conditions for a discussion in Parliament.”
At a recent press conference, Swaraj had said the BJP would stick to both its demands of the PM’s resignation and cancellation of coal block allotments.
But the party had been isolated on the matter, with the entire Opposition seeking a debate and with even ally JD(U) falling in line reluctantly.