Prospects of an immediate end to the deadlock in Parliament over the JPC probe into 2G spectrum scam appeared dim with the Opposition and government remaining firm in their respective positions for and against such an inquiry on the eve of an all-party meeting on Tuesday.
While there was no official word about any new proposal from the government to end the stalemate and 'save' the coming Budget session of Parliament, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, questioned the logic behind the Opposition's demand.
The standoff had washed out virtually the entire winter session of Parliament.
Mukherjee, who has convened Tuesday's meeting, said setting up of JPC would only lead to duplication of probe into the 2G spectrum scam.
Striking a similar note, Congress, leading the coalition at the Centre, stuck to its opposition to the formation of JPC.
Party spokesman Shakeel Ahmed hoped "there may be other options available...We should be optimistic that Parliament will function smoothly...Better sense will prevail and things will be sorted out amicably".
The Bharatiya Janata Party and Left parties are united on the demand for JPC. The Left contention is that the arrest of former Telecom Minister A Raja and findings of the Shivraj Patil Committee have reinforced the demand for JPC into the 2G spectrum allocation scam.
"We want the House to function. Whether the House will function or not, that is the responsibility of the government. If it remains obdurate like it remains now that there is no JPC, the responsibility of functioning of Parliament is on the government," CPI-M Parliamentary Party leader Sitaram Yechury said.
Asked whether the Left would agree to have a discussion in Parliament on the need for a JPC probe, he said there was no such proposal from the government in this regard.BJP leaders, including L K Advani, have said the party-led NDA stands by the demand for JPC probe and there is "no dilution".
The budget session of Parliament is scheduled to begin on February 21 and continue till April 21.
At Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar's third and final meeting with some oppositon leaders, Mukherjee sought to drive home the point as to what purpose JPC would serve when CBI, Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Public Accounts Committee (PAC) are already looking into the issue.