M A I N   N E W S

House shouldn’t pre-judge 2G case: PM
Monsoon session begins today; govt, Oppn trade allegations
Vibha Sharma/TNS

New Delhi, July 31
On the eve of the monsoon session, the ruling UPA and the Opposition BJP virtually took on each other today, giving a clear indication of the stormy days ahead in the “scam versus scam” slugfest that may now be carried out on the floor of Parliament.

While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sought to blunt the Opposition’s anticipated attack on the 2G scam by saying that Parliament should not “pre-judge” a matter that was sub judice and that the Opposition (in this case read the BJP) also had several “skeletons” in its cupboard, Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj practically dared the government saying “let us see who attacks whom”.

“The government is free to bring out all the arrows in its quiver. Let us see who has more arrows in its quiver,” Sushma countered, accusing Manmohan Singh of starting a confrontation even before the start of the five-week session. The statements come after Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar’s customary all-party meeting that ruling and Opposition party members attended.

In an obvious attempt to take the sting out of the anticipated attack by the BJP and the Left on the 2G issue in the coming session, the Prime Minister said: “We are not afraid of discussing the issue of corruption. The Opposition also has too many skeletons in its cupboard. We are not afraid of discussing any issue in Parliament.” However, he did not make any direct reference to the Rs 16,000-crore mining scam that led to the resignation of Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa.

“The matter is in the court. It should be left to be decided by the court and Parliament should not pre-judge the issue,” he added. Sushma countered the observation saying that “issues are decided inside Parliament, not outside”.

She said a number of issues were stacked up against the government which has convened a session of Parliament after a long gap. “We would like the House to function so that the issues are discussed. The issue of price rise concerns the common man, the issue of corruption is also prevalent. The issue of internal security related to the Mumbai blasts is also there. The situation in Telangana has taken a big shape. Air India is in a bad shape, Naxalism is raising its fangs,” she said.

She said the Opposition had given notice on international issues like preconditions set by the Nuclear Suppliers Group as also the matter of attacks on Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan waters. The BJP is gunning for the Prime Minister and Home Minister P Chidambaram in the wake of former Telecom Minister A Raja’s allegations against them in the 2G case.

Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK have also demanded an explanation from Manmohan Singh, Chidambaram and Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Raja’s charges.

Price rise and corruption are also the major planks for the Left’s attack on the Manmohan Singh government. While rise in prices of petroleum products, essential commodities as well as food security would be major issues that the Left parties would take up during the session to corner the government, they also plan to hit out at the BJP government in Karnataka over the illegal mining scandal. The Left parties also want a debate on the draft Lokpal Bill as they want the Prime Minister to be included in its ambit.

With the Left and the Right making common cause on issues like corruption and price rise, the government is hoping that the Rs 16000-crore mining scam in Karnataka and the electoral defeat the Left suffered in West Bengal would give it enough manoeuvering space to counter them in Parliament. With issues like corruption and price rise expected to take the centre stage, sources within the Congress agree the coming session could be a difficult one. However, the BJP-Left alliance is not the only headache for the Congress-led government. The threat of another fast by social activist Anna Hazare is looming large on the horizon besides the unresolved Telengana issue.

The UPA continues to be in a fix with Congress MPs from the region refusing to withdraw resignations they sent to Speaker Meira Kumar after the agitation flared up again. Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad is expected to meet the Telengana MPs from Congress tomorrow.





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