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BJP refuses to backtrack on coal files, PM's dinner diplomacy fails

CNN-IBN
Sep 04, 2013 at 12:32pm IST

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's dinner diplomacy has failed as the Bharatiya Janata Party rejected his appeal to let Parliament function. The BJP gave adjournment notices on the missing coal files and fuel price hike in Parliament on Wednesday and shouted slogans in the House over the coal scam.

Sources say the BJP is upset because its senior leaders Sushma Swaraj and LK Advani did not get an opportunity to speak in the Lok Sabha after the Prime Minister's statement on missing coal files on Tuesday.

ALSO SEE Missing coal files: PM meets senior BJP leaders to end Parliament logjam

In an attempt to end the stand-off over the missing coal files, Manmohan Singh on Tuesday reached out to the Opposition and held a meeting with senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj at his residence. At the meeting, the Prime Minister urged the Opposition leaders to allow Parliament to function and requested for their help in passage of crucial reforms like the Pensions Bill. He assured the BJP leaders of a detailed investigation in the case of the missing files pertaining to the coal block allocation.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Prime Minister made a statement in both Houses of Parliament saying that the government will provide full cooperation to the CBI in the investigation of the missing coal files. He also assured the Houses that the guilty, if any, will be punished.

ALSO SEE Missing coal files: BJP fumes as PM says don't draw hasty conclusions

"It is too early to say that some coalgate files are missing. If some files are really missing, then will probe and punish the guilty," Singh had said.

The Prime Minister requested the House not to draw any hasty conclusions and appealed to the members to let the proceedings of the House continue. The BJP though maintained that the Prime Minister evaded all important questions and had nothing to offer in his statement in Parliament.

Meanwhile, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath has indicated that the monsoon session may be extended further as key bills remain pending. "If the need be we can extend the monsoon session of Parliament. Key legislations are pending, we hope the parties will cooperate," Kamal Nath said.

The Pensions Bill, which will allow 49 per cent FDI in pension and insurance sector is up for debate, which would free up funds for alternate government use. Also lined up is the amendment to the Right To Information Act, which seeks to keep political parties out of the ambit of RTI. All major parties have favoured the RTI amendment in the past.

The government's Land Bill is also pending for discussion in the Rajya Sabha. After adopting two new amendments, it will now be again discussed in the Lok Sabha on Friday.

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