In its demand for deallocation of coal blocks and an independent probe into the alleged irregularities in their allocation, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hasn’t seen much support.
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) is the only party supporting BJP. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa is backing the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA)’s demand for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s resignation and de-allocation of 142 coal blocks.
So far, senior BJP leaders, who sought support from leaders of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the Left parties and the Samajwadi Party (SP), saw little success.
The BJD, a one-time ally of the BJP, has categorically said it doesn’t want de-allocation of all the coal blocks.
Senior BJD leaders also want a discussion in Parliament on the prime minister’s statement; they don’t adhere to the idea of stalling parliamentary proceedings. “The BJD believes there should be competitive bidding of all natural resources, not just coal, and the interests of the state government should be safeguarded in the bidding process. We want a discussion in Parliament. We do not support de-allocation of all the coal blocks.
Rather, it should be done on a case-to-case basis,” said Bhartruhari Mahtab, senior party leader.
Not seeing much support on this front, the BJP leadership had to soften its stand. Even as the party leadership wants Prime Minister Singh to resign, it has agreed to allow Parliament to function if the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government deallocates all the coal blocks and agrees to an independent probe.
The change in BJP’s stand followed UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi holding talks with senior BJP leader and leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj.
Though the Left parties and the Samajwadi Party want a discussion on the issue in Parliament, these parties have also sought de-allocation of all the coal blocks. Senior Left leaders believe after blocking parliamentary proceedings for more than a week, the BJP leadership is now agreeing to their position. Senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury said, “The BJP has now taken the CPI(M) line.”
Meanwhile, the BJP’s student wing, the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, and Youth Against Corruption have called for a nationwide ‘college bandh’ tomorrow to protest against alleged the irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks.