Coal row: BJP to continue offensive, says not interested in one-day debate
Making it clear that BJP was not ready to give up its offensive over CAG report on coal block allocation, Opposition leader Arun Jaitley on Sunday said suggestions to debate the issue only in the House "will put a lid on one of the greatest scandals in Indian history."
"It has been suggested that since the Prime Minister himself was the coal minister, we should assume that this decision was fair. The Prime Minister's office is a sacred institution in Indian democracy. It has to be judged by standards much harsher than those which would apply to ministers like Shri A Raja," Jaitley said in an article issued by the BJP.
The BJP leader said that a debate is an essential ingredient of Parliament but so is accountability.
Jaitley said that if the process of allocation by the Prime Minister as a coal minister "smacks of arbitrariness it shakes our national conscience. The onus is now on the Prime Minister to accept the responsibility for what has happened."
"Suggestions that the issue should be debated only in the Parliament will put a lid on one of the greatest scandals in Indian history. We, in the Opposition, are not interested in merely the issue being talked out through a one-day debate in Parliament", Jaitley said at a time when the opposition party has been stalling Parliament, maintaining that nothing short of Prime Minister's resignation will do in the matter.
In the article, titled The Allocation of 142 Coal Blocks, Jaitley, who is the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, said "The arbitrary and discretionary allocation of 142 coal blocks is the latest albatross round the neck of the UPA Government. The arrogant and despotic government did not realise when the allocations were made that it would be held accountable for each of these coal block allocations."
He noted that the CAG has based its report on the allocation of these coal blocks primarily on the ground that after a decision was taken to switch over to the competitive bidding system it took the government eight years to implement the said decision.
The BJP leader said, "If a debate is being used today to put a lid on accountability then an alternative strategy is necessary."
He said that Parliamentary obstructionism should ordinarily be avoided but added that in the rarest of rare cases, obstructionism also bring its dividends.
He stated that an important session of parliament had also been lost on the issue of 2G spectrum scam but added that it also resulted in the then telecom minister A Raja's resignation.