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United opposition stalls parliament, but split over Yeddyurappa

Tuesday November 23, 2010 07:59:36 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: A united opposition saw parliament paralysed for the eighth day Tuesday over the demand for a parliamentary probe into allocation of 2G airwaves, but outside the house the knives were out as the Left attacked the BJP over its "double standards" on removing land scam-hit Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.

A day after Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee's all-party meeting to resolve the parliament impasse failed, both the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the rival National Democratic Alliance (NDA) stuck to their guns on the Joint Parliamentary Committee issue.

Parliament was adjourned without transacting any business for the eighth successive day Tuesday. Very little business has been transacted in the winter session which began Nov 9, with the houses adjourned for eight straight days, out of the nine working days.

Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed told reporters that "as of today, there is no need of a JPC over the 2G spectrum issue."

On the other hand, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Prakash Javdekar said that an "unprecedented unity was visible in the entire opposition over the JPC demand". "It is not just the BJP or the NDA, but the Left parties and AIADMK and other parties are all for the JPC probe," he added.

However, outside parliament, differences among the opposition surfaced over the allegations that BJP Chief Minister Yeddyurappa had allotted plots to his close relatives in his "discretionary quota".

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Brinda Karat told reporters that the BJP's indifference to the demand for removal of Yeddyurappa was proving its "double standards".

"It raises the fundamental question of the BJP's honesty in fighting corruption," she told reporters.

The Congress lost no time in capitalising on the fissures in the opposition.

Party spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan told reporters that the BJP's stand on Karnataka exposed its double-standards.

"Why is the BJP, which is so eloquent over the spectrum issue, silent on the corruption charges against the Karnataka chief minister?" She asked.

The chief minister, who is in the capital to meet party president Nitin Gadkari, has ordered a judicial probe into the allotment of lands by various chief ministers in the past 10 years. His kin, including his two sons, have surrendered the plots allotted to them.

Sources said that though several BJP leaders want Yeddyurappa to resign to save the BJP's image and give it a comfortable position to battle the Congress on corruption issues, he was not yielding for the time being.

In parliament, the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha saw the first adjournment as soon as the houses met at 11 a.m.

Opposition members, including from the BJP and its allies, the Left parties, the Samajwadi Party and the AIADMK shouted slogans in both the houses for a JPC and asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for a clarification.

In the Rajya Sabha, ruling party members were also on their feet displaying placards demanding action against the "Bellary brothers" of Karnataka. The Bellary brothers, mining barons Janardhana Reddy and Karunakaran Reddy who are state ministers, are alleged to be involved in illegal mining activities.

Parliament's winter session has witnessed repeated adjournments over the opposition's insistence on a JPC probe into the 2G spectrum scam, even after Andimuthu Raja, who was at the heart of the controversy, resigned as the communications and IT minister.

A report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), tabled in parliament Nov 16, said that the award of 2G spectrum during Raja's tenure in 2008 had resulted in a notional loss of thousands of crores to the exchequer.






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