Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj has said that her offer to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, stating that the coal issue could be discussed if allocations are cancelled and a probe ordered, was only to make Parliament function again. The party would continue to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, she added.
She repeated the nuanced change in the BJP's stand, as HT reported on Sunday, which had till now stood firm on the resignation of the Prime Minister and cancellation of coal blocks as a precondition for Parliament to function.
The monsoon session, which faces the prospect of a washout, enters its last week now, and the ball seems to be in the government's court to make Parliament transact business before the last day — September 7.
Stating that the offer was just for the sake of a parliamentary debate, Swaraj said the party would continue to demand that Singh step down — taking moral responsibility for the allocations at a time when he was holding charge over the coal ministry.
"The interpretation that the BJP has given up the demand for the Prime Minister's resignation is wrong," Swaraj said.
Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj interacts with the media in Mumbai. PTI
"We have put these two conditions so that Parliament can function. Even during the debate, we would take the stand that the PM should resign."
LK Advani endorsed Swaraj's line in a blog post on Sunday morning, saying, "The NDA has offered to resolve the deadlock if all the allotments are cancelled and the allocation process is subjected to a judicial probe. The government is not ready for this yet."
An inter-ministerial group (IMG) looking into coal block allocations is expected to meet on Monday to decide on coal blocks that may have been wrongly allotted or haven't started operations yet. "Right now, no allocations are being cancelled. On the basis of the IMG report, the allocations that were made in a wrongful manner or allottees, who have failed to start production of coal... may face action," coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal was quoted as saying.