'BJP stalling Parliament a black spot for democracy'
Hitting back at the BJP for targetting the Prime Minister over the coal scam, the Congress-led UPA government on Monday said that the opposition stalling Parliament is a black spot for democracy and slap on the face of people who elect their representatives.
Speaking to the media, finance minister P Chidambaram said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has offered to debate the coal allocation and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should accept it.
"Every day that passes without Parliament meeting and transacting business is a day that adds a black spot for democracy. Not discussing in Parliament is a slap on the face of people who elect us," said Chidambaram.
He said that the place to continue the debate on coal allocation is not outside the Parliament but inside the Parliament.
"We are always ready for debate on coal allocation. If the opposition finds fault in the prime minister's statement, please do so, but in the Parliament," he said, during a media briefing (GoM Media) attended by HRD minister Kapil Sibal and information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni.
Chidambaram turned down BJP's demand for government to seek vote of confidence.
"There is no reason for the government to seek vote of confidence. The government enjoys the confidence of the Parliament," he said.
He refuted BJP's allegation that the Congress had made a lot of money - "mota maal" - in its coal blocks allocation, and said phrases like this should be avoided.
Earlier, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari, addressing newspersons, said the United Progressive Alliance was ready for a debate in Parliament. Whether there should be voting on the debate would be decided by the business advisory committees of the two houses, he added.
He said a debate on coal blocks allocation in Parliament would "expose" the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and leave it with a "blackened face".
The BJP has been holding up Parliament with demands for the resignation of the Prime Ministerover the government auditor's report on losses to the exchequer.
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has said in its report that the lack of transparency in the allocation of coal blocks to private players had resulted in the loss of a whopping Rs. 1.86 lakh crore ($37 billion) to the exchequer.