"The Bhartiya Janata Party wants to use the Joint Parliamentary Committee as the political tool. It's the issue of ego. It's a political demand so the Congress is not agreeing to it," says Janardhan Dwivedi, chairman of media cell of the Congress, while talking exclusively to rediff.com about why Congress is not agreeing to a JPC to look into allegations related to the allotment of 2G spectrum.
He also alleged that the demand for (former telecom minister) A Raja's resignation was a political demand to create fissures between the Congress-Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam alliance.
"Look, the demand for the resignation (of A Raja) was not an innocent demand. They (opposition parties) thought that if Raja resigns then it would affect the alliance. But, it didn't happen. One thing you clearly understand that Raja or any other minister who is from any other party is not the choice of the Congress," he said.
"A political party decides who will represent it in the government. The DMK decided (about nominating Raja).When some questions were raised, Raja resigned. After the resignation, they (the opposition parties) are not satisfied with the 2G spectrum investigations," Dwivedi added.
Contrary to Congress's expectations, Raja's resignation has not taken away the heat out of the 2G spectrum controversy.
Dwivedi agrees that he feels awkward and appalled that Parliament is not functioning for more than two weeks. But, he asked, "Is anyone asking them (opposition parties) about it? They are running away from debating the issue. Those who are afraid of debate (on 2G spectrum) are not allowing Parliament to function."
The leaders of the opposition parties have pointed out that the JPC would have powers to summon ministers and bureaucrats while the Public Accounts Committee, mainly looks into the accounts and comments presented by CAG.
While reacting to this argument, Dwivedi said, "If, really, this is their (BJP's) argument that they are concerned only about 'power to summon' then our contention is correct. We want to reach to the bottom of the issue. We want investigation. Let them (BJP) say you don't trust Parliament. You don't trust the CAG. You don't trust the PAC. You don't trust other investigative agencies. You don't trust the Supreme Court. So, you trust only yourself, that's all?"
While putting forward a robust defence of Congress's stand to not allow JPC which has stalled Parliament since the last two weeks, Dwivedi argued that the BJP's opposition to various constitutional institutions just because it's not giving them the desired results is unacceptable.
He said, "Out of this (BJP's stalling of parliament sessions) one dangerous thing is emerging. You (opposition parties) don't want a debate in Parliament. You are devaluing Parliament. You don't want debate over the JPC. You are hurting democratic processes. You don't want to go to the PAC which is, also, a constitutional body and is considered more important than many other committees. Whenever it doesn't suit them they speak even against the office of the Chief Election Commissioner. This issue (2G spectrum) is before the Supreme Court. Tomorrow, you may say you will not believe the Supreme Court, you will only believe a JPC. It's not right to devalue, one by one, all the constitutional institutions when you don't find the desired result. This is difficult to accept."
The demand for the JPC is not seen in proper perspective, he argued. He says that the "problem of JPC" is the problem of BJP and not the worry of the Congress.
When asked what's his party's basic objection to form a JPC to investigate the 2G spectrum allocation, Dwivedi, a old Congress hand, said, "Since the beginning of the controversy, the Congress's stand is that whatever allegations against Raja should be openly debated. First of all, the CAG report became public before it could be tabled in Parliament. Let us not discuss what was wrong or right about that leak. If the CAG report on 2G spectrum would have been tabled in Parliament, the Congress would have insisted on a proper debate over it. You could speak, as you wish, against what Raja did or the ministries did and, also, listen to what Raja wants to say."
Dwivedi says, "Raja's public stand was that he continued with all those policies of previous ministers, of which he named Pramod Mahajan and Arun Shourie."
The Congress insists that on the floor of the House, the opposition parties could have put forward their views on the 2G issue and they should have also cared to listen to Raja's version.
Dwivedi says the constitutional requirement should have been followed by taking the CAG report to the PAC. As has been argued since the last 20 days that the PAC's chairman is a leader of the BJP, Dwivedi pointed out.
Dwivedi emphasised that, "The Congress is not saying there should not be any investigation. We believe an investigation into the 2G issue should be there. In fact, so many agencies are carrying out investigations. Nobody has stalled it. The prime minister is taking an interest to see that the truth emerges. But, you see how the opposition parties are rejecting, one by one, all arguments. Are you delaying the issue just because you want to use the JPC as the political tool so that the issue will continue to be debated and no conclusion would come forward as it has happened in previous JPCs?"
Dwivedi argues that the government is showing the way for the faster investigation into the 2G spectrum issue which the BJP is rejecting.
Dwivedi alleged, "They didn't allow (the government) to proceed on the ways for faster investigation. We are saying the government is ready to answer your questions. The prime minister is ready to respond on the issue. Raja is also ready to reply. You sould have given your arguments; other parties would have put forward their views. The truth would have come out before the nation."