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Rediff.com  » News » Opposition calls it Congress-BJP 'match-fixing', draws Cong ire

Opposition calls it Congress-BJP 'match-fixing', draws Cong ire

August 30, 2012 14:47 IST
In a near alienation of the Bharatiya Janata Party, other Opposition parties, including the Left and Samajwadi Party, came together on Thursday against the continued stalling of Parliament, demanding normalcy and a probe into the coal block allocation issue by a sitting Supreme Court judge.

"Our party along with the Communist Party of India, CPI-Marxist and the Telugu Desam Party decided to stage dharna in front of Parliament tomorrow to demand an inquiry into the coal block allocation scam by a sitting Supreme Court judge," SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav told reporters in New Delhi.

"We are talking to other parties also. We want there should be a probe into it and guilty should be punished," he said after a meeting with CPI-M leader Basudeb Acharia, the CPI's Gurudas Dasgupta the and TDP's Nama Nageshwar Rao.

On the prime minister's statement on coal block allocation issue and the continued deadlock in Parliament, the SP chief said, "We want Parliament to function so that it can debate these important issues."

The meeting came against the backdrop of Parliament failing to transact any business for almost two weeks now, with the Bharatiya Janata Party continuing to create a ruckus by pressing its demand for resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue.

Other Opposition parties like the Biju Janata Dal and even National Democratic Alliance partners, the Janata Dal-United  and Akali Dal, were also opposed to the disruption of the proceedings and have been demanding a debate on the CAG report into the coal block allocation and other business.

Maintaining that the disruption of the two Houses was a result of "match-fixing" by both the BJP and Congress, CPI-M leader Basudeb Acharia said, "The 'Coalgate' scam is a bigger scam than 2G scam. We want there should be a probe into it. There should be discussion in the House."

"It is a match-fixing as Congress and BJP are together on the issue. Both do not want debate in the House," the CPI-M leader said.

He said the CPI-M has also been demanding a probe into it and punishing those found, besides cancellation of all "illegal allotments".

Observing that the Comptroller and Auditor General was a constitutional body, Gurudas Dasgupta (the CPI) said its job was to keep a watch on the functioning of the government as per the Constitutional requirement.

"But what the prime minister has said against the CAG is wrong and against the spirit of the Constitution. He should not have said so. The PM does not have right to say anything against constitutional bodies like CAG, Central Vigilance Commission or the Election Commission," he said, referring to the prime minister's statement on the issue in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on Monday.

Dasgupta said, "It is more than match-fixing. The Congress and BJP are made for each other. Our fight is against both. They are not interested in discussing the grave economic situation in the country because of their policies are more or less same."

TDP leader Nama Nageswar Rao said, "We have raised the coal mining issue in Karnataka and Andhra before. We have raise the issue of mining mafia also. These four leaders were hopeful that members of Parliament of more parties would join them in their protest sit-in tomorrow and talks were on with them.

Both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have been witnessing unruly scenes since last week, with BJP members trooping into the Well and shouting slogans leading to adjournments. Thursday's was the seventh working day of Parliament which was disrupted.

The prime minister's statement on the coal allocation issue was listed for discussion in both houses of Parliament on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Congress dismissed allegations by the Samajwadi Party that there was "match-fixing" between the ruling party and the BJP in not allowing Parliament to function and said the Opposition was subverting the Constitution by disrupting the House.

"There is neither any mock fight nor any match-fixing. Our contention from the very beginning has been that are we creating a precedent where on every issue if some institution says something we do not allow the House to function?," Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said.

He alleged that the BJP was subverting Constitution by not allowing Parliament to function.

"Parliament is responsible for debating the issues and if somebody does not allow it to function he subverts the Constitution of India and the constitutionality of Parliament... The majesty of Parliament should be restored," Tewari said.

He maintained that the truth will come out only when a debate takes place in Parliament.

"The purpose behind stalling the House is only to prevent the truth from reaching the people and the BJP can continue to do its politics based on falsehood, deceit and rumours," he said.

The Congress claimed the chief ministers of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, West Bengal had all written letters that there should be no auction of coal and the process of allocation should continue.

The ruling party also said the basis for the entire controversy in Parliament was the CAG report but it has neither been discussed by the PAC yet nor debated in the House.

"The entire controversy over allocation of coal blocks stems out of the CAG report. Without going into the merits of whether the CAG has the constitutional or the legal mandate to conduct the kind of exercises that he has undertaken, the fact remains that the CAG report is a half-way house. It has to be scrutinised by the PAC," Tewari said.

The Congress maintained that whether coal block allocations should stay, be cancelled or further reinforced can be determined through the process of a proper inquiry of the CAG report in the PAC, followed by a debate in the House.

"Are we going to set a precedent that every time there was a CAG report which points out one inconsistency or the other we are going to bring the House to a grinding halt," Tewari said.

"I think we should not put the cart before the horse. The first step is that the House should function, a debate must take place and Opposition can make all the points it wants to, the treasury benches get an attempt to rebut it and then whatever crystallises we can take it from there," he said.

The Congress emphasised that it is ready to debate the merits of the entire issue of coal block allocation.

"The government is answerable to Parliament and through it to the people. So whatever has to be said should be said in the House," Tewari said.
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