Coalgate clouds monsoon session

Last Updated: Fri, Aug 24, 2012 04:51 hrs

New Delhi: The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha had to be adjourned for the third consecutive day on Thursday, as the deadlock between the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the government over the purported coal block allocation scam risked jamming the entire monsoon session of the Parliament.

Parading its near-unilateral strategy of disrupting House proceedings and not agreeing to a debate, BJP leaders expressed they were not in a mood to relent on their demand that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh resign over the alleged irregularities that purportedly caused huge losses to the national exchequer.

However taxpayer money appeared to be on the minds of few Parliamentarians as they continued to feud over the purported scandal that, according to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), caused losses of up to Rs 1.86 lakh crore.

Initially, both houses of the Parliament were adjourned for an hour as BJP members started shouting slogans minutes after the proceedings started on Thursday.

The BJP members shouted slogans and even trooped into the Well in order to press their demands.

BJP ally Janata Dal-United (JD-U) however did not take part in the sloganeering as it continued to favour a discussion on the issue.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde kept pleading with the opposition that Prime Minister, who held the portfolio during the tenure of the alleged scam, should be allowed to speak.

"The prime minister is ready to discuss the issue provided they (BJP) let the house function," he said.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari called for an all-party meeting in the Upper House of the Parliament in an attempt to end the ongoing stalemate.

However, the meeting ended inconclusively, reports said.

Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi sent a strong message to her party MPs and said they should not be 'defensive' but 'attack', party sources said.

Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde spoke to senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj on Thursday to end the ongoing deadlock.

Speaking on the ongoing troubles, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said an all-party meeting is needed to sort out differences on the issue.

"Parliament is a democratic system. If there is a scam then we need to discuss and debate. All issues can be sorted out through discussion," Mamata said.

"All-party meeting is needed to sort out differences," Mamata said.

The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were adjourned for the day on Tuesday and Wednesday on the same issue.

The report by the CAG said 25 private companies received benefits of around Rs 1.86 lakh crore through of coal block allocations in various states.

A separate report claimed that Rs. 1.63 crore were lost by the manner in which the land for Delhi's international airport was leased.

The reports mounted pressure on Manmohan Singh's Congress-led UPA government that is already reeling under allegations of corruption scandals and prickly ties between allies compounding economic woes.

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