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Opposition: If Dr Singh can appear before PAC, then why not JPC?

By Onkar Singh and Prasanna D Zore
December 20, 2010 14:19 IST
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Minutes after Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's speech at the 83rd Congress plenary on Monday, where he offered to appear before the Public Accounts Committee in the wake of scams that have rocked the nation, he came under the fire of the Opposition.

Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar and D Raja of the Communist Party of India said that if the prime minister is willing to appear before the PAC, then why not the JPC.

Speaking at the plenary session, Dr Singh said that even though the action was unprecedented, he is willing to appear before the PAC headed by the BJP's Murli Manohar Joshi. "I will be writing to the chairman of the PAC that I am willing to appear before it to prove my bonafides that I have nothing to hide," he said.

"Why this distinction between the JPC and PAC? The PM is willing to appear before the PAC because he knows that it has a limited mandate. The PAC can only look into the report submitted by the Comptroller and Auditor General. The PM is guilty of not supervising the 2G spectrum scam," Javadekar asked during his interaction with mediapersons soon after Dr Singh's speech.

D Raja said that the PM must appear before the JPC and not before PAC, as the former has greater and better mechanism. "It is one thing to look into the financial losses, but it another thing for the JPC to investigate the how government policies were overlooked and to suggest certain amendments to ensure that such scams do not reoccur," D Raja told rediff.com.

Deputy leader of the BJP in the Rajya Sabha S S Ahluwalia said that if the ruling party was confident of being so clean then why were they scared to constitute a JPC to look into the matter.

"If they are so clean than why are they worried about a JPC probe'" Ahluwalia told rediff.com speaking from London.

"The PAC is not as powerful as the JPC. Why does the ruling party want to demolish the set principles of parliamentary democracy enshrined in our Constitution," he retorted.

However, Ahluwalia added that the BJP had only demanded for the constitution of the JPC and had not ever said that the PM or any other minister will be questioned. "We had never said that we will call the PM before the JPC. But the people of this country should know the truth about how corporate lobbyists are manipulating the system by influencing ministerial positions," the senior BJP leader said, referring to the leaked Niira Radia tapes.

Reacting to Dr Singh's scathing attack on the BJP that termed the country's principal opposition party 'obdurate', Ahluwalia said, "This only proves the arrogance of the ruling party. They are so rigid; they don't believe in the efficacy of parliamentary checks and balances and are acting like dictators."

Political observers felt that the PM's offer is aimed at taking the wind out of the National Democratic Alliance rally on December 22 at Ram Laila ground.

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Onkar Singh and Prasanna D Zore in New Delhi
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