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PM took Congress by surprise with PAC offer

Last updated on: December 22, 2010 20:02 IST

PM took Congress by surprise with PAC offer

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As the Opposition remained adamant over a joint parliamentary committee probe into the 2G spectrum issue, the Congress on Wednesday said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's offer to appear before the PAC was his 'personal sentiment' and did not mean that the government had conceded to any demand.

"There is no question of devaluing by offering to appear voluntarily, there is hardly any question. He (PM) showed respect on a voluntary basis. It is a personal sentiment in a certain context. He is under no legal obligation. He is not setting precedents. It is to show the people that he has nothing to hide and the continued obstruction of Parliament was a gimmick," party Spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told reporters at the All India Congress Committee briefing.


Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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'Right emotional gesture'

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His remarks came in response to a volley of questions on whether Manmohan Singh's offer to appear before the PAC was out of sync with the party's stand on the issue that the Opposition's sole aim behind demanding the JPC was calling the prime minister before it and the party will not allow denigrating the institution of prime minister.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, another party leader described the prime minister's offer as the "right emotional gesture to communicate with the public".

The leader admitted that Dr Singh's offer indeed came as a surprise to most of the party-men at the plenary, but added that it must have been the result of prior consultations with party chief Sonia Gandhi.


Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Congress president Sonia Gandhi
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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The PM's 'masterstroke'

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Soon after the prime minister's remark, AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh had hailed it as a 'masterstroke' and had congratulated him for his 'brave and extraordinary' offer.

Singh had steered clear of questions on whether the prime minister was 'belatedly brave' as he could have made the offer earlier, thereby saving the washout of winter session.

Singhvi's statement came hours after the National Democratic Alliance targeted the prime minister at a rally and demanded his resignation, saying Dr Singh cannot wash his hands off the corruption that has taken place.


Image: Digvijay Singh

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'Champions of inaction on corruption'

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"The prime minister should form the JPC and answer our questions and if you (PM) cannot answer our questions, then you should step down from your post on moral grounds," Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said in his address at an NDA rally against corruption.

The Congress spokesperson pilloried BJP over the rally, saying the "champions of inaction on corruption are preaching it to those who have declared a war on corruption".

"How can the party of Dilip Singh Judeo and Bangaru Lakshman have a rally against corruption," Singhvi asked, referring to corruption scandals in which names of these leaders had surfaced in past.

"It was a rally by hypocrites who have got their names registered in the Guinness Book of Records for their expertise in Parliamentary disruptions," he alleged.


Image: Arun Jaitley

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