Hot on the heels of stiff opposition from its allies, the Centre on Monday decided to drop its move to name a judge to head the commission set up to probe the snooping of a young woman's phone calls by the Gujarat police allegedly at the behest of Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
“We have left the decision on appointing a judge to the next government,” government sources said, a day after the Nationalist Congress Party and the National Conference, allies of the United Progressive Alliance, openly opposed the move.
A controversy had broken out last week when Kapil Sibal and Sushilkumar Shinde told the media that a judge would be named in the snoopgate scandal before May 16. The announcement came under severe attack from the Bharatiya Janata Party, which slammed the UPA saying it was carrying out vendetta out of desperation of defeat in the elections. The BJP questioned the move saying the original decision of the cabinet was taken in December and they could not decide on a judge all these days. The party also questioned the need for such a probe when the state government itself had ordered a commission of inquiry into the same subject.
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However, what apparently took the government by surprise was the opposition from its allies. Yesterday, NCP leader Praful Patel had said: “When the results of the Lok Sabha elections are due in two weeks’ time, where is the need for such an enquiry?" Significantly, NCP chief Sharad Pawar had talked to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to convey the party’s view in the matter.
Striking a similar note, National Conference leader and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said if the decision to appoint a judge could not be taken in December, then it was wrong to appoint a judge five months later. “Was talking to my dad last night and he felt the same way -- setting up a commission of inquiry in the dying hours of UPA II is just wrong. If the decision to appoint a commission was taken in Dec it should have been implemented. To appoint a judge 5 months later is wrong,” Omar tweeted.