What did M M Joshi mean? BJP leaders clueless
The statement by Public Accounts Committee Chairman Dr Murali Manohar Joshi -- about the offer of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to appear before the PAC to clarify his position in the 2G spectrum scam -- has shocked senior leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Joshi, who also happens to be a senior leader of the BJP, had stated in a press conference on Monday evening that the PAC would take an 'appropriate decision at an appropriate time'. His stance, suggesting that the PAC may consider the PM's offer, has dealt a body blow to the BJP's rigid demand for a joint parliamentary committee probe into the 2G scam.
Reportage: Onkar Singh in Delhi
Image: Dr Murali Manohar Joshi
BJP shocked by Joshi's comment
"He has given us enough material to hold a Chintan Baithak," admitted a senior leader of the party.
The BJP, teaming up with other Opposition parties, had brought Parliament to a standstill in the winter session over its demand for a JPC, as a PAC has limited powers. While the United Progressive Alliance government has steadfastly rejected the demand for a JPC probe, the Opposition threatened to continue its agitation till the budget session of Parliament.
During the recent Congress plenary, Dr Singh offered to appear before the PAC to answer the panel's questions about the 2G scam.
Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
'There is no change in the BJP's position'
Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj reacted strongly to Joshi's statement, saying, "The roles of the PAC and the JPC are totally different and the party would insist on setting up a JPC even in the budget session of Parliament".
"JPC can summon any minister and even the prime minister to explain their positions," she told media persons.
"There is no change in the party's position. The government must set up a JPC to probe those aspects of the 2G scam which are clearly beyond the ambit of the PAC," Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, senior vice president of the BJP, told rediff.com.
Image: Former telecom minister A Raja, who had to resign over the 2G scam
BJP seeks a JPC probe in CWG scam
"The PAC has no powers to call a minister, leave alone the prime minister," said Yashwant Sinha, who is a member of the PAC.
Sinha's views show a sharp difference of opinion among the BJP's top leadership. Joshi, whose statement indicated a dilution of the party's demand for a JPC, has reportedly shocked the party's top brass.
"We are not asking for a JPC probe only in the 2G spectrum scam but other scams involving corruption at the highest level including in the organisation of the Commonwealth Games in October this year," said a senior BJP leader.
Image: BJP leader Sushma Swaraj