Coalgate paralyses Parliament as Opposition demands PM’s head

BJP rejects Manmohan Singh’s offer for full debate in House, wants him to quit immediately; murmurs of division within NDA on extending the stand-off

Published: 22nd August 2012 11:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd August 2012 11:52 AM   |  A+A-

The main opposition BJP is in no mood to let go of the ‘coalgate’ issue. The party, along with its NDA allies, would keep it alive and persist with the demand for the Prime Minister’s resignation over the coal allocation ‘scam’ “till he gives in’’.

“We will continue to strongly press for the Prime Minister’s resignation. The coal allocation issue is not an isolated incident. The 2G spectrum issue, Commonwealth Games scam, public-private partnership issue of airports and now the coal blocks — all this shows the rot at the top in the ruling dispensation,’’ said BJP chief spokesperson and chief whip in Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Going by the posturing of the main opposition party on Tuesday, the government and the Opposition are in for a prolonged period of confrontation. More so as the government called the demand for the PM’s resignation “preposterous’’ and the Prime Minister said he was “ready to discuss whatever the opposition wants’’.

Spurning the Prime Minister’s offer outright, BJP MP Prakash Javadekar said, “We are not interested in the PM’s statement, we just want him to quit.”

On a day when the Opposition and the treasury benches were at loggerheads, regular business in both the Houses of Parliament was washed out. The Opposition raised the PM’s resignation issue on the floor of the House as well.

While the Lok Sabha could not transact any business because of the unruly scenes which first resulted in adjournment till noon and then for the day, the Rajya Sabha could function only to allow the election of Congress leader P J Kurien as deputy Chairman of the House before it was adjourned for the day amid similar uproar on the coal scam.

After the LS was adjourned, the NDA leaders met in the chamber of BJP Parliamentary Party Chairman L K Advani to decide their future course of action. It was decided that the opposition would keep alive the “coalgate scam”. NDA convenor and Janata Dal (U) President Sharad Yadav was reportedly not in favour of stretching the matter for too long, but Prasad later asserted that the “entire NDA stood united” in favour of their stand to persist with the PM’s resignation over the “coalgate scam”.


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