New Delhi: It appears to be an all out war between the Opposition and the government. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is leaving no stone unturned in its attempts to corner the UPA government on both the 2G spectrum allocation scam as well as the coal blocks allocation scam.
Even as the BJP continued with its protest against the government with regard to the coal blocks allocation scam in Parliament, its members staged a walkout during the meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the 2G spectrum allocation scam.
The six members of the BJP demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram be called by the JPC to depose in the 2G scam case.
While the BJP continued with its protest inside Parliament over the coal scam, its members staged a walkout during the 2G JPC meet.
The party threatened that if the Prime Minister, Finance Minister, Pulok Chatterjee (Principal Secretary to Prime Minister's Office) and TKA Nair (Advisor to the Prime Minister) are not called to depose before the JPC, then its MPs would withdraw from the panel altogether.
BJP MPs Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Dharmendra Pradhan and Gopinath Munde walked out after calling the JPC a kangaroo court.
Yashwant Sinha and Ravi Shankar Prasad accused the Congress of creating a hostile environment during the meeting.
"We had to walkout of the JPC meeting after the unparliamentary behaviour of Congress members in the meeting. Foul language was used against us. We had only asked that the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister should be called to the JPC," said Yashwant Sinha.
"It was amazing to see the behaviour of first time MPs of Congress using such language against us. A hostile atmosphere was created so we had no option but to walk out," said Ravi Shankar Prasad.
The development came a day after the main Opposition party on Tuesday night sent two emissaries to seek support from Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee.
However, the West Bengal Chief Minister refused to join the bandwagon. The strategy behind seeking Trinamool Congress support was clear – a key UPA ally joining the resignation bandwagon would have made the Prime Minister's position untenable.
The move is seen as a pressure tactics by the BJP, which can claim that the JPC does not represent Parliament as its members are not a part of the panel. The party's strategy is to keep up the pressure on Manmohan Singh on not only 2G but also on the coal blocks allocation report, and paralyse the government.
However, what is disappointing for the BJP is the fact that not just the UPA allies, but even key NDA constituents like the JD(U) do not seem keen on backing it in its offensive against the government, especially the Prime Minister.
In what was contrary to the stand taken by the BJP, JD(U) president Sharad Yadav said, "It is my personal view that discussion on CAG report should take place in the House. But I am also bound by the NDA decision."
The statement of the JD(U) president was supportive of the demand by the UPA government, which has called for a debate on the coal blocks allocation scam.
The government, which has demanded a debate on the coal block allocation issue, on Wednesday said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) knew that it won't stand a chance when it comes to a debate in the House.
Addressing mediapersons on Wednesday, Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said, "The BJP cannot face a debate in Parliament because they know things will be clear."
He further said, "The BJP-ruled states opposed bidding in writing. The states rejected Centre's proposal for bidding."
While claiming that the state governments of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal opposed the bidding, Jaiswal said that in fact it was the UPA government, which is now being blamed for not auctioning the coal blocks, that had thought of the bidding process in 2004.
The Congress and all other constituents of the UPA are also rallying behind the Prime Minister, countering the attack by the Opposition.
Defending Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the issue, Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said, "All the allocations were agreed upon by state governments. The Prime Minister can't be held responsible for any allocation."
A key ally of the UPA, the National Conference also backed the PM with Farooq Abdullah saying, "The Prime Minister will not resign. They should listen to the Prime Minister and not be scared to discuss."
The Trinamool Congress, which is usually found attacking the government despite being a constituent of the UPA, said, "There is no question of supporting the Opposition asking for PM’s resignation. We want a discussion."