Coalgate: Jaiswal rules out PM resignation

Last Updated: Sun, Sep 02, 2012 13:22 hrs

New Delhi, Sept 2 (IBNS) Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal on Sunday said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has no moral right to demand resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the coal block allocation issue if they do not demand the resignation of BJP ruled chief ministers in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

"Why not demand resignation of chief ministers of Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and MP going by the same yardstick? If you do not demand their resignation you have no right to demand the resignation of the Prime Minister," said Jaiswal.

"The CAG report should discussed in the PAC (Public Accounts Committee). And it should have been debated in parliament," said Jaiswal.

"We want a detailed debate on this and sort things out categorically. Our government had demanded a CBI probe into this," he said.

"So far the PM is concerned, he is not responsible. The question was whether the policy (of coal allocation) when it was made was in favour of the nation," he said.

He said coal is the only resource left to improve the power situation and it is available in such a huge deposit that we can mine it for next 150 to 200 years to fulfil our requirements.

He said the country can only move ahead if steel, cement and power requirements were made and with coal available in such a huge quantity the import of the mineral would be an unfortunate situation.

Earlier on Sunday, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said her party BJP is not backing down from the demand for resignation of Prime Minister but would let the parliament function for the remaining days of monsoon session only if the government cancelled licences of all coal blocks allocated controversially and start an independent and fair probe into the scam.

"It is wrong to say we have backed out our demand for resignation of the Prime Minister. We stick to it because he is directly responsible for the scam, but we will let the parliament function only if all licences of the coal blocks allocated during the tenure of the PM as coal minister were cancelled and an independent and fair probe was ordered," said Swaraj addressing a press conference.

She said Sonia Gandhi had called her to resolve the issue and she had communicated her the two demands for allowing the parliament to function.

"She said she would get back on our demands but then indications are that nothing is going to happen and no solution is in sight," said Swaraj.

She said revenue did come from the coal blocks but those went to the Congress party coffer and not to the state exchequer.

Parliament was adjourned almost every day in this monsoon session by the BJP over coal scam.

The PM on Monday last said the observations of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the coal allocations are disputable and they would be challenged in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The coal report of the CAG has pointed finger at the loss-making coal block allocations when the portfolio was held by Singh.

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

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