Hitting out at the Bharatiya Janata Party for disruption of Parliament on coal block allocations issue, Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday asked the party why it was not ready for a debate, daring it to face questions on allocations made during the National Democratic Alliance rule.
"If the BJP has such a strong case, why don't they debate the subject in Parliament," he said, reacting to BJP leader Arun Jaitley's criticism of the government and his assertion that his party is in no mood to allow the Parliament to function till its demand for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's resignation is met.
Jaitley told a press conference in Delhi on Saturday that a nationwide debate is on on the coal block issue though it is not taking place in the Parliament. "Our strategy does not permit that we allow the government to use the Parliament to end this debate without any accountability. We want the debate to go on further," he had said.
Chidambaram asked, "That is what I would like to ask them. Why debate the issue on television? Why not in the Parliament? Why doesn't he (Jaitley) raise the issue in Parliament?"
He also wanted to know whether the BJP was prepared for a debate on the coal block allocations made during the BJP-led NDA regime between 1998 and 2004.
Proceedings in both the Houses were paralysed for the entire week on the coal block allocation with the BJP and other NDA members engaged in disruption. The BJP has also threatened continued paralysis of the Parliament in the week ahead.
Replying to Jaitley's criticism of his 'no loss' theory in regard to the coal block allocations, the minister said there is a potential gain when coal is mined and sold.
"Where is the presumptive loss or gain when mining has not taken place," he countered.