Coalgate Scam Wipes Out Monsoon Session; What PM Has to Say
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday expressed deep concerns over the "wasted" monsoon session of the Parliament and termed the opposition stalling the Houses as "negotiation of the democracy."
Manmohan is facing the heat over his alleged involvement in the coal allocation scam. Last month, the Comptroller Auditor General's report on the allocation of mining leases to public and private companies between 2004 and 2007 found a series of functional lapses.
The government auditor calculated a whopping loss of Rs ₹1,860 billion loss to the state exchequer. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party stalled the Parliament demanding the resignation of Manmohan since he had been in charge of the Coal Ministry when the alleged irregularities had taken place.
The BJP's persistent protesting in the Parliament over the Coalgate issue led to a virtual wash out of the Monsoon session as 13 business days of the 20-day session went in vain.
The BJP refused to let the Houses function while dismissing the government's offer to debate the CAG report inside the Parliament.
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The parliament deadlock added to the acute policy paralyses under the UPA regime, with several bills were put on the backburner.
Talking to newspersons outside the Parliament on Friday, the Prime Minister commented on the wasted monsoon session:
"We have just ended a wasted session of Parliament. Both Houses were paralysed because the CAG has issued a report, which rightly or wrongly, makes certain allegations about the public functionaries. We have great respect for the institution of the CAG, but if we respect this institution, we must be willing to debate its findings in the Public Accounts Committee, or even on the floor of the Parliament, which we have always been willing.
The Opposition chose not to take advantage of the settled institutional practices dealing with the reports of the CAG, and insisted on disrupting the Parliament. This is a negation of democracy. If this thought process is allowed to gather momentum, that will be a grave violation of the norms of Parliamentary politics as we have understood it.
India is faced with many problems - there are problems of rising communal tensions, there are problems of regional and ethnic tensions, there are problems of terrorism, there are problems of Naxalism. Parliament should have debated all these issues. But Parliament was not allowed to discuss these very important issues before the country.
On the economic front, the world as a whole is faced with serious economic difficulties, grappling with recession, and we are trying to prevent India getting affected by what is happening in the outside world. Parliament should have discussed these issues - what is our economic strategy to deal with these global tensions, these global developments - but Parliament was not allowed to do any of these things. The result is, Parliament which is the forum, where we articulate our people's felt needs and felt urges, was totally paralysed.
I would like my countrymen and countrywomen to make up their minds, if this is the right way to serve our functioning democracy. We take pride in the fact, that we, since independence, have been a practising, functioning democracy. What we have witnessed in this session is a total negation of that, and all right-thinking people in our country should stand up and unitedly come up with the voice that come what may, Parliamentary institutions must be allowed to function with the norms as we have known them since India became independent."
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