Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters
With only two working days left, the winter session of Parliament looks all set to be lost to the stand-off between government and the Opposition over the issue of a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the 2G spectrum scam as another day was wasted on Thursday.
Parliament witnessed possibly the longest such paralysis as the 20th consecutive working day on Thursday was wasted because of pandemonium with a united Opposition persisting with the demand for JPC.
The opposition demand for a JPC probe has led to the longest shutdown of Parliament in independent India.
Winter session heads for total washout
The Opposition demand for JPC into the Rs 64 crore kickbacks into the Bofors gun deal had also led to disruption of Parliament for about 45 days in 1987, but the government pointed out there was no shutdown like this.
"No more development in the situation. I have nothing to say," Leader of Lok Sabha and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters when asked about the logjam.
No protests over JPC formation on any issue have paralysed Parliament for 20 long days as had happened this time, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told mediaperons.
With no signs of the deadlock ending in the next three days, Bansal feared that the winter session could be a total washout.
'Parliament was paralysed only for a day over Bofors'
He told mediapersons that opposition plans to extend the logjam to the budget session scheduled in February next would do "irreversible and immeasurable" damage to Parliament.
Detailing the opposition protests earlier, he said that Parliament was paralysed only for one day in July 1987 on the demand for JPC into the Bofors kickback issue.
The motion for JPC on Bofors was moved by the then Defence Minister K C Pant and there was discussion on it for three days after which it was accepted.
'No disturbance in Parliament over Harshad Mehta'
Photographs: Arko Dutta/Reuters
There was no disturbance in Parliament over the demand for a JPC probe into the Harshad Mehta case in 1992, he said.
Regarding the demand in 2001 for a JPC into the securities scam allegedly involving Ketan Parekh, he said that in the initial eight days there was practically no business.
'NDA didn't accept JPC demand for Tehelka'
On the demand for the JPC into the issue of pesticide residue in soft drinks, he said that the demand was accepted without much din in Parliament.
Bansal said Congress, while it was in the opposition, had demanded JPCs on the Tehelka expose and the coffin scam, but the then National Democratic Alliance government had not agreed to it despite protests for three days.