New Delhi: The
Congress and the opposition were at daggers drawn Thursday, with
the latter demanding the removal of P.C. Chacko as the head of the
joint parliamentary committee (JPC) looking into 2G spectrum
allocation and the former pressing for debarring three BJP members
from voting on its report.
Both sides approached Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar and gave
signed letters on their demands.
The Congress was surprised when half of the 30 member JPC,
including arch political rivals, approached Meira Kumar and gave
signed letters saying they had no confidence in Chacko.
"Fifteen JPC members have given signed letters to the speaker
saying they have no confidence in Chcko," BJP spokesperson Ravi
Shankar Prasad told reporters.
"Chacko's conduct as chairman has been impartial. He has failed in
his duty to bring out the truth," he said.
The opposition members are angry over the leaked draft report
which has blamed former telecom minister A Raja for the alleged
losses in the allocation of 2G spectrum but cleared Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P. Chidamabaram of any
Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury played down the sharp
division in the JPC.
"We will come to the bridge when we come to it. Political
alignments are part of the political turf," she said.
But a few hours later, the Congress turned the tables when six
party MPs urged the speaker to remove "three BJP members - Ravi
Shankar Prasad, Yashwant Sinha and Jaswant Singh - from the JPC or
debar them from voting as they were either telecom ministers or
were part of a group of ministers on the issue during the NDA rule
"There would be a conflict of interest if the report is finalized
in their presence," a Congress MP told IANS.
All eyes are now on the speaker for her decision.
The Congress, however, got some respite as the JPC meeting to
finalise its report was postponed due to the sudden passing away
of Trinmool Congress MP Ambica Banerjee.
Congress sources rubbished the opposition's charge that the
government was trying to buy time.
"The JPC meet was postponed due to mourning over the Trinamool MPs
death," a minister said.
Both the BJP and the Left stalled the Rajya Sabha over the 2G,
issue demanding the prime minister's resignation.
BJP member Yashwant Sinha had again written to the prime minister
April 23, asking him to appear before the JPC and clear the air
about his alleged involvement in the spectrum allocation.
Sinha had written a similar letter earlier, which Manmohan Singh
had rejected, saying all the relevant documents had been provided
to the JPC.
In the past, BJP members boycotted the panel, demanding that both
the prime minister and Chidambaram be called.
In November-December 2011, an entire winter session of parliament
was washed out as the BJP did not allow either house to run till a
JPC probe was set up.
The issue came up after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG)
said a presumptive loss of Rs.1.76 lakh crore had been lost in the
allocation of 2G spectrum licences during the UPA-I government
The draft report of JPC negates the findings of the official
auditor, saying Raja had changed the cut-off date for the
allocation of spectrum without notice and this amounted to an
The report further said it was a policy decision to give licences
on first-come-first-served basis, and not to go for auction.
It noted that the move was backed by the Telecom Regulatory
Authority of India.
It also said Chidambaram had no role in decision-making.