The latest Comptroller Auditor General report on the controversial Coalgate issue took centre-stage in both Parliament Houses on Tuesday, with the main Opposition demanding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh his resignation for alleged lapses in cola block allocation.
A few minutes into the session, the Speaker was forced to adjourn the House till noon as BJP members were in no mood to give heed to any explanation by the ruling Congress on the CAG report on coal block allocation to some private companies between 2004 and 2009, which allegedly caused a whopping ₹1,860 billion loss to the state exchequer.
The government auditor has indicted lapses in coal block allocation, when Manmohan Singh was responsible for the coal ministry.
The BJP leaders were demanding an immediate step down of the incumbent Prime Minister based on the CAG findings, saying that it was matter of serious nature and cannot await a probe by Parliament Accounts Committee (PAC) for a decision.
"The PM is culpable for the delay in introducing transparent auctions," BJP deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad was quoted saying by The Times of India.
The Congress said that the Prime Minister was ready to make a statement on the CAG report, while refusing to accept Opposition's demand for Manmohan's resignation over the issue. Meanwhile, the ruling party also countered the BJP, asking it to introspect its own role in allocating coal blocks during the NDA regime.
The latest CAG reports on coal block allocations are likely to hamper the proceedings in the Parliament and could increase the likelihood of acute policy paralyses under the UPA regime. Several bills were put on the backburner and many key financial bills were awaiting formal considerations by parliamentarians to become a law.
However, the Congress-led UPA leaders were unsuccessful in getting the bills through the Houses, owing to the ruckus created by Opposition leaders on various scams that came to light since mid-2010. The CAG report, meanwhile, has tarnished the clean face of the UPA regime.
Manmohan Singh is much appreciated for his personal honesty, though he has been under intense criticism by political observers who alleged him to be politically ineffective.
What remains to be seen is whether the BJP will be successful in pushing the Congress to the wall over the Coalgate issue and get Manmohan Singh out of his Prime Minister post.