New Delhi, Aug. 23 -- Even as the BJP hardened its stand against the government in Parliament as well as the JPC on the 2G scam, differences emerged within the opposition over the strategy required to corner the UPA on corruption charges.
While sticking to its demand for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's resignation after the CAG's latest report on coal allocation, the BJP stormed out of a JPC meeting on Wednesday - alleging that UPA members were not interested in calling the PM and finance minister P Chidambaram before the panel as witnesses.
The party is likely to take a call on quitting the JPC, further hardening its position against the Congress. At the same time, it continued to disrupt both Houses of Parliament for the second day in a row, leading to adjournments.
The saffron party, however, failed to garner support from other quarters in the Opposition. Even Shivanand Tiwari of key NDA ally JDU favoured a debate on the coal issue in Parliament, contradicting the BJP's stand that such activities were of no use - given the way discussions on the 2G and CWG scams had yielded little over the last two years. Nevertheless, JDU president and NDA convenor Sharad Yadav cleared the air by stating that though a debate on the issue was favoured, he would abide by any decision taken by the alliance.
Meanwhile, the Telugu Desam Party and Left parties kept pressing for an explanation from the Prime Minister on the coal issue in Parliament. "We are not toeing the BJP's line. Instead of the PM's resignation, we want him to explain the reasons behind the government's decision," CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechury said.
TDP's Nama Nageshwar Rao, on the other hand, said his party wanted a statement from the PM before his resignation. BJD's Jay Panda wanted a debate in both Houses under rules that entail voting. The BJP also failed to get Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee's support for demanding the PM's resignation.
In the JPC too, the Left parties didn't toe the BJP's line to walk out. CPI's Gurudas Dasgupta even offered a compromise formula: "If you don't agree to call the PM and FM, at least send them a written questionnaire."
The Congress members, in their defence, pointed out that the CBI has given Chidambaram a clean chit. When Congress member Manish Tewari asked his BJP counterparts to refrain from turning the JPC into a "kangaroo court", an infuriated Yashwant Sinha accused the Congress of using "foul language" during the proceedings.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.