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Opposition party still firm on call for Indian PM's resignation

Publication Date : 03-09-2012


The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) yesterday stood firm on its demand that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh resign over the coal blocks allocation issue, but  gave indications that it could allow Parliament to function if the allocations were cancelled and an independent probe ordered.

With less than a week left of a Monsoon session of Parliament that has almost completely been washed out thanks to the opposition party's campaign against the government over the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report on coal block allocations that spoke of undue benefit of 1.86 lakh crore (US$37 billion), top leader L K Advani in a blog post said the National Democratic Alliance has offered to resolve the deadlock if all the allotments made are cancelled and the process whereby the screening committee has decided these allocations is subjected to a judicial probe

"The government is not yet prepared for this,” Advani wrote, while keeping up the attack on Singh, stating that the latter's explanation in Parliament on the coal blocks allocation was  “totally unconvincing”. 

Elaborating on similar comments she made on Twitter last night, the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, Swaraj, told mediapersons in Mumbai yesterday: (Congress president) Sonia Gandhi called me three days back and asked if a debate could take place in Parliament. I said they should cancel the allocations and order a fair probe. She said she would get back to me, but the talks remained inconclusive."

"However, the interpretation that the BJP has given up the demand for the prime minister's resignation is wrong," she said. "We have put these two conditions so that Parliament can function. Even in the debate we would take the stand that the prime minister, as the then coal minister, should resign."

She also said that her party would take to the streets after the Monsoon session ends on September 7 to demand Singh's resignation.

The government and the Congress, meanwhile, sought to take the battle to the BJP, accusing the Opposition party of spreading anarchy in the country, stalling Parliament and trying to “destabilise” the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and scoffing at its demand for the PM's resignation. 

Speaking to reporters in Kanpur, coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said the campaign launched against the UPA government has been “inopportune” and the discussion on the issue should be held in Parliament's Public Accounts Committee.  He told reporters that no one can force Manmohan Singh to resign as long as he enjoys the support of the people. 

“BJP is spreading anarchy across the country using a CAG report. The same CAG had found irregularities related to coal mining in Chhattisgarh that led the state exchequer to a loss of 1,000 crore rupees,” Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said, asking why the BJP was not seeking the resignation of Raman Singh and to cancel all the allocations made in the state. (one crore = 10 million)

Wrongdoings on the part of the BJP chief ministers of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka have also been brought out by the CAG, he noted.  In Indore, Congress leader Digvijay Singh targeted CAG Vinod Rai, saying Rai had violated the oath of secrecy, by allowing the leakage of CAG reports.


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