New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led opposition Wednesday renewed its demand for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's resignation over the official auditor's report on coal block allocation, leading to disruptions in both houses of parliament.
The BJP had declared that it would not let the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha function until the prime minister resigns. And it stuck to its intention for the second consecutive day this monsoon session.
In the Lok Sabha, Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the house till 12 noon after BJP members refused to allow proceedings and rushed towards her podium raising slogans.
The scene was similar in the Rajya Sabha, prompting chairperson Hamid Ansari to adjourn the house till 12 noon.
"The prime minister must accept his culpability in this matter and the reason is very obvious. In the five out of eight years only 142 coal blocks were allocated. This means public revenue suffered and private parties gained. He himself was the coal minister," BJP leader Arun Jaitley told a news channel.
"In the 2G spectrum allocation scam, the minister concerned resigned and when he resigned, others tried to escape from their responsibility. This is a case where the prime minister was the coal minister and the government is putting a brave face and saying they are ready for a debate. But why do you require a debate?" Jaitley asked.
"If in December 2010, we had not held up the winter session, (A.) Raja would not have resigned... Our pressure in parliament did work in the 2G scam, and I hope it does work even now."
"The prime minister is the prime accused in this case. How can we have a debate on the issue unless he resigns. We are ready for discussion only after he resigns," his colleague Balbir Punj told IANS.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), India's official auditor, had last week revealed that the lack of transparency in the allocation of coal blocks to private players resulted in a loss of Rs.1.85 lakh crore ($37 billion) to the exchequer as on March 11 last year.
The audit report does not directly indict the prime minister or his office. But during the time these mining blocks in question were allotted, the coal portfolio was held by him -- between July 2004 and May 2009.