New Delhi: Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday demanded an apology from the Opposition, accusing it of “destroying” Parliament after they rejected his offer of a special session to discuss the JPC issue on 2G scam.
“In the entire winter session, they (Opposition) did not allow any opportunity for any discussion on any issue....They have created deadlock in Parliament. They have destroyed the institution. They should apologise to the nation,” Mukherjee told reporters here.
The angry reaction of the finance minister came after the Opposition rejected the offer he made last night in a fresh bid to break the deadlock in Parliament that resulted in the washout of the entire winter session.
Leader of opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj earlier said, “We don’t want a debate on JPC. We want JPC” while dismissing Mukherjee’s offer.
Party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said, “The special session for discussion has no meaning as it (discussion) has already taken place in 2009. Discussing ths issue is not going to serve any purpose. We insist on JPC and not any discussion. For the government, time is now to act.”
The reaction of the Left was no different with CPI’s D. Raja finding “nothing new” in Mukherjee’s offer.
He recalled that Mukherjee had earlier also made a similar suggestion to discuss the issue and it was rejected by the Opposition.
“I think JPC is very reasonable demand. Opposition is not demanding anything which should not be demanded. The parliamentary rules and procedures allow such a mechanism. If the Prime Minister is willing to appear before PAC, then what is the problem in JPC?,” he said.
Raja at the same time said that his party has so far not received any communication from the government for a special session and will discuss it with other Left parties once it happens.
Regarding his offer, Mukherjee said, “All I have to say that I have made it quite clear. Parliament is meant for debate and discussion..... Therefore, I said whether there is need for JPC after all these steps the government has taken”, he said listing the steps taken by the government so far to probe the 2G issue.
He said the first FIR in the issue was lodged in October 2009 much before the demand for JPC was raised in 2010 November.
“During the winter session, I asked the opposition to have debate and discussion, but they refused. Parliament became just 30-40 people coming to the well raising slogans, showing placards and forcing adjournments. How this Parliament can function. They have completely destroyed an institution like Parliament. They owe an apology to the nation,” Mukherjee said.
“The Prime Minister himself appeared before the PAC. The minister concerned has resigned. Investigation by CBI, Enforcement Directorate and IT are going on. What else JPC will do? What is JPC? It is Joint Parliamentary Committee. A joint parliamentary committee is already looking into it and that is PAC (Public Accounts Committee),” he said.
Meanwhile, telecom minister Kapil Sibal said the offer is not new. “This suggestion was even made earlier. This is not a new suggestion. In fact, Mukherjee made the suggestion even earlier to the opposition that you can have a debate in Parliament on whether or not there should be a JPC, but even that was rejected.”