Sonia dares BJP to House debate
In a fresh salvo at the BJP for its continued disruption of Parliament over the CAG critical report on allocation of coal blocks by the Centre, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Thursday challenged the party to a debate in Parliament, saying this would separate fact from fiction.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has said that the central government committed irregularities in allocation - instead of auctioning - of 57 coal blocks to private and state-run firms in several states from 2004-2009.
The CAG has estimated that the allocations have caused a loss of to Rs. 1.86 lakh crore to the exchequer, a charge that has been denied by the government.
"Come and discuss the issue in Parliament. It will bring out the truth," Gandhi said while addressing a massive rally at the Adarsh Stadium in Barmer after inaugurating a lift drinking water project.
With the BJP stalling both Houses of Parliament over the past 13 days and demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the alleged scam, Gandhi said some parties are just playing politics and preventing the smooth functioning of Parliament.
"The country is currently facing so many problems, including the impact of the global economic recession and natural calamities. Inflation is another problem. These need collective effort beyond political lines," she said.
Referring to the volatile situation in Assam, the UPA chairperson said "all parties need to work together to tackle the social tensions in the country".
"But they (opposition) are preventing Parliament from discussing issues related to the public. Is this for the well being of democracy?" she said in her 15-minute address on a scorching day.
Inaugurating the drinking water project, Sonia said bringing water from the Himalayas, 1,400km away, to Barmer was a historic moment.