Tuesday, February 22, 2011


22 Feb 2011


By R Rajagopalan

NEW DELHI: The Government will press on Thursday to cover all telecom decisions and policies right from 1998 when the BJP-led NDA was in power as terms of reference of the proposed Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe the 2G scam.

The main opposition Bhartiya Janata Party, however, smells a trick in the move to keep out all its senior leaders from joining the JPC, be they Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh, Ananth Kumar, Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh, Murli Manohar Joshi or Shahnawaz Hussain.

Each one of these seniors have been the Cabinet ministers during the NDA regime and have been party directly or indirectly to the decisions taken by the then government and so they cannot sit in judgement on own role under the principle of conflict of interest.

Since the JPC will be probing into even the Cabinet decisions, the BJP seniors who were part of the Cabinet cannot become members of the JPC. That will force the BJP to field its second rung leaders to become members of the JPC, a top party leader said.

CONG CRISIS: On the other hand, the Congress has also plunged into a crisis on deciding names of its MPs to be put on the JPC. Anyone who joins the JPC will lose the chance to join the Union Ministry in the reshuffle the Prime Minister has promised in May after the Parliament session and hence there are no takers for berth on the JPC, the Congress sources said.

Those reluctant to be on the JPC include even all three senior party MPs, V Kishore Chandra Deo (Andhra), P C Chacko (Kerala) and Girija Vyas (Rajasthan), who are the probables shortlisted for heading it as each one of them is quite hopeful to become the cabinet minister and they feel their chance will be spoiled if they join the probe committee as they will have to then wait out until the committee finishes its report.

There is still no clarity from the government side on the number of members of the JPC as to whether there will be 21 or 31. If it is 21, the Lok Sabha will have 14 members and the Rajya Sabha 7. If it is 31, the Lok Sabha will get 21 berth, including that of chairman, and the Rajya Sabha 10.

Once the Lok Sabha adopts a government-sponsored resolution for setting up the JPC, it will go to the Rajya Sabha to elect its members to be placed on it. The final decision of the names and the terms of reference will be decided together by Speaker Meira Kumar and Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari.


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