Congress drops hints of agreeing to JPC on 2G scam

Congress drops hints of agreeing to JPC on 2G scam

New Delhi: Keen to see that the budget session of Parliament commences on a smooth note, Congress on Monday gave indications that it might not be averse to a JPC to probe the 2G scam if the opposition is ready for a prior debate and agree to modalities for such an inquiry.

“Democratic institutions must be allowed to function...What modus operandi is for the Government and the opposition to work it out", party spokesman Manish Tewari said.

After the top brass including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party chief Sonia Gandhi deliberated on the matter at the core group, Tewari said that Congress has been consistently demanding a debate in Parliament on the issue.

“Opposition should not run away from a debate. The demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe should not become a subterfuge to run away from debate. Debate on the floor of the House is a fair, legitimate and just demand", he said.

A senior Congress leader, on condition of anonymity, said if the cost of running Parliament is JPC, then let it be. But if at all a JPC is to be conceded, it should not be preceding a debate in Parliament.

He said while no decision has been taken by the ruling dispensation on the JPC issue, the same depended upon the attitude of the opposition on the terms of reference as also prior debate.

The ruling party also wants to keep the S-band issue away from any such probe claiming that it is “no scam".

The Congress is keen that such a probe covers the BJP-led NDA’s stint in power and is claiming that the main opposition will have a lot to answer. The CBI summons to Arun Shourie, former telecom minister in the NDA rule, is being cited by the ruling party.

With the entire winter session turning out to be a washout over the JPC issue, the ruling party feel that a section of the opposition could still disrupt Parliament even if a JPC is agreed to.

A section of the Congress is even claiming that constitition of a JPC is an “exercise in redundancy" as the investigations by various agencies have already gone far ahead.

Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar has convened a meeting of all political parties on 20 February on the eve of the three-month long Budget session to make it a smooth affair.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee is likely to meet once again leaders of arious parties ahead of the session to resolve the issue.

Mukherjee had assured the opposition leaders last week that he would get back to them after consulting the prime minister.