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Will Azad drill a way through Left and the Right?

Last updated on: February 5, 2011 00:57 IST

Will Azad drill a way through Left and the Right?

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Renu Mittal in New Delhi

The government has unleashed hectic behind the scene activity and is lobbying with non-Bharatiya Janata Party parties to break the logjam in Parliament and divide the Opposition ranks, in a bid to ensure there is no repetition of the winter session of Parliament where not a single item of business could be transacted.

Sources disclose that Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad met Left leaders Prakash Karat and A B Bardhan as an emissary of the government to persuade them to co-operate with the government and allow the House to run.

Azad's argument to the Left leaders was to keep pressing the demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee if that is what they want but that they should not allow the House to be stalled.

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Image: Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad

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Azad's argument to the Left leaders was to keep a political distance from the BJP as the party was 'in the name of opposition unity was holding the government and the nation to ransom'.

The Left has already said they are not in favour of Parliament being stalled in the Budget session and it is now up to the government to press home that opening and ensure that there is no further truck and co-operation between the Left and the BJP.

Because of the seniority of Azad and his close relations with a number of senior leaders cutting across party lines, he has been tasked with meeting these leaders and effectively informally functioning as a parliamentary affairs minister.



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He is said to enjoy the confidence of both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi and because of that he has been retained to manage the Tamil Nadu elections, as he is known to be a tough and effective negotiator of seat sharing with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

In a bid to ensure the House runs and the Budget session does not fall to pieces, the Congress says there is a suggestion to have a resolution on the JPC and they want political parties to discuss this in the February 8 meeting called by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

A party spokesperson said the Congress is ready for the resolution and is open to the suggestion. The party wants the issue to be discussed in the House and then voted upon and it is up to the parliamentary affairs minister to see whether it should come up in the Rajya Sabha also where the United Progressive Alliance is skating on very thin ice.

The party has reiterated that its stand on the JPC has not changed, as they feel there is no need for it since all investigations are on and action is being taken by the government, which was not the case with the National Democratic Alliance when it was in power



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Sources said that the government may ask one of the smaller parties to move a resolution on the setting up of a JPC on the telecom scam and then defeat it in the Lok Sabha where it has the numbers.

It may be recalled that during the NDA tenure, a resolution was passed on the Narendra Modi government to impose article 355 but later Vajpayee backed off from it and did not implement the resolution.

With the government exploring various options on how to restore order in the Rajya Sabha without losing face and having to concede the JPC, sources say that the resolution is one of the options still in the consideration stage and by the time Parliament is on, there may be other options also depending on how the BJP-led NDA puts its case across in the February 8 meeting.



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