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New Delhi: The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday said it will allow Parliament to function only after the government scraps coal field allocations and orders an independent inquiry into it.

The ruling Congress party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has rejected BJP’s demands, which is likely to stall Parliament proceedings in the remaining days of the monsoon session.

Leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj reiterated that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is responsible for the coal field allocations and her party is firm on the demand for his resignation. She denied media reports that the BJP had withdrawn the demand for Singh’s resignation.

Sonia Gandhi called me over ending the logjam in Parliament and initiating a debate. I gave her two conditions—first to cancel coal block allocations and second to order an independent inquiry. She said she will get back to me," Swaraj told reporters in Mumbai.

“The indications so far I have received is that they have not agreed to our demands. It suggests that the talks have been inconclusive. If you ask our minimum demands to run the house, then nothing short of scrapping coal block allocation and independent inquiry will satisfy us," she said.

Swaraj said BJP will organize a mass campaign seeking Singh’s resignation after the end of the monsoon session on 7 September.

BJP leader L.K. Advani was, however, silent on the demand for Singh’s resignation in his blog on Sunday. “The NDA (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," he said, adding that Singh’s statement in the house was totally unconvincing.

“While there have been demands for the resignation of the Prime Minister and a high-level inquiry, now the common minimum denominator is cancellation of the coal block allocations as Samajwadi Party, the Left parties and everybody is demanding it," said BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar.

Mumbai-based political analyst Jai Mrug said BJP has softened its stand after extracting the maximum out of the issue.

“They know that they have taken this issue to the crescendo. They are now leaving some space for manoeuvres so that muck does not come on them. Some of the beneficiaries of coal allocation have relations with BJP leaders. So the party is now looking for an honourable exit," he said.

The BJP had stalled Parliament after the government’s auditor, Comptroller and Auditor General of India, in its 17 August report said irregularities in allocation may have cost the exchequer 1.86 trillion.

Coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, who saw clashes between BJP and Congress supporters outside his residence in Kanpur on Sunday, rejected the BJP’s demand for scrapping the coal field allocations.

“Right now, no allocations are being cancelled. On the basis of the inter-ministerial group report, the allocations which were made in a wrongful manner or those allottees who have failed to start production of coal in a time-bound manner may face action. Any number of coal blocks can be cancelled," Jaiswal said.

An inter-ministerial group meeting to review allocation of 58 coal fields to state-owned and private firms is scheduled for Monday and is expected to give its report by 15 September.

The government has issued de-allocation notices to 33 government firms and 25 private entities in this regard.

The Left parties held both BJP and Congress responsible for failing in their duties.

“The BJP’s stand of stalling Parliament is unacceptable. This is a fascist method. They should respect Parliament. At the same time, the Prime Minister should own up moral responsibility," Communist Party of India general Secretary S. Sudhakar Reddy said in party mouthpiece New Age.

PTI contributed to this story.

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