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New Delhi: The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stayed adamant on Wednesday on its demand that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh resign over alleged irregularities in the allocation of captive coal blocks that, according to the national auditor, may have cost the exchequer 1.86 trillion.

Proceedings in both Houses of Parliament remained paralysed for a second consecutive day over the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha adjourned without transacting any legislative business, with the BJP insisting on Singh’s resignation and others seeking a clarification from the government.

BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar cited the examples of A. Raja and Dayanidhi Maran, who had to resign as telecom minister and textile minister, respectively, because of alleged wrongdoing. “...similarly, the then coal minister Manmohan Singh has to go," Jadavakar said, referring to the period when the Prime Minister also held charge of the coal ministry and the blocks were allocated.

In an attempt to escalate pressure and politically isolate the Congress, the five BJP members in the joint parliamentary committee (JPC) that is investigating the 2G scam, walked out of the meeting of the high-level probe panel on the question of calling the Prime Minister and finance minister P. Chidambaram for questioning.

Senior BJP leader and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, who led the walkout, said the party repeated its demand for calling both Singh and Chidambaram before the JPC in “a most civilized way".

“We wanted a decision on that today because it has been pending for the last eight weeks. The Congress members, mainly some junior members, got agitated and used foul and unparliamentary language. We could not take it when they accused us of making it a kangaroo court. We walked out of the meeting," Sinha added.

Congress spokesperson and JPC member Manish Tewari alleged that the walkout was pre-planned. “It was their game plan to stage a walkout. Before the walkout, the media knew about their moves. This was already in the entire media. I vehemently deny any charge of using unparliamentary language," he said.

P.C. Chacko, chairman of the JPC, said there was no provocation for the BJP members to walk out.

Some senior politicians also indicated that the BJP might ask its members to quit various parliamentary committees to pressurize the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. This signals a major showdown between the ruling and the opposition parties, said political analysts.

“The BJP has upped the ante... I think the decision of paralysing Parliament, which has 18 months to go, is something worrisome. Till now, only the proceedings inside the Houses were affected. Now if it gets extended to standing committees, it will lead to a complete paralysis in the legislative process," said Balveer Arora, a former head of the political science department at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

There were unruly scenes in Parliament, too, as BJP members raised slogans against the UPA and Singh. The BJP has held Singh “morally and vicariously liable" for the allocation of coal blocks in 2006-2009.

The audit body, in its report tabled on 17 August in Parliament, said allocating coal mining blocks without auction between 2004 and 2009—during which the UPA was in power— to private companies had cost the exchequer 1.86 trillion. The government has countered the charges and questioned the calculation of loss.

Singh’s denial and an offer for a detailed discussion during which he would answer all the questions raised by the opposition have been rejected by the BJP, which is a facing crucial electoral battle in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh later this year. The next general election is due in 2014.

The chaos over the CAG report has once again become a hurdle to the UPA government’s policies and key legislation. Although a key banking reform, the Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to strengthen the regulatory powers of the Reserve Bank of India and would allow private investors more clout, was up for consideration and passage on Wednesday in the Lok Sabha, it was not referred to in the revised list of business.

Meanwhile, fissures surfaced in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, with key ally Janata Dal (United), or JD(U), expressing its reservation against disrupting Parliament and showed its readiness for a debate.

According to a party member of Parliament, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, who has argued against the BJP’s strategy of disrupting parliamentary business, has also spoken to leaders of the Left parties, the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Telugu Desam Party.

Remya Nair and PTI contributed to this story.

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