BJP set to ask JPC

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SummaryThe JPC is scheduled to meet tomorrow with the stated agenda of an “internal discussion for finalising future programme of work of the committee”.

The BJP is gearing up to mount an offensive against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the JPC meeting tomorrow by demanding that the panel probing the 2G scam should summon him as a witness.

The JPC is scheduled to meet tomorrow with the stated agenda of an “internal discussion for finalising future programme of work of the committee”.

Sources said party members would ask JPC chairman P C Chacko to call the PM, Finance Minister P Chidambaram and senior PMO officials T K A Nair and Pulok Chatterjee. If Chacko refuses to accept their demand, the BJP members may resort to a walkout, followed by either an announcement of a boycott or en masse resignations from the panel.

“What is the point of having a JPC if we cannot examine the Prime Minister, Chidambaram, D V Subba Rao, T K A Nair and Pulok Chatterjee?” said a BJP member of the committee.

“It is time we take a decisive position,” said another party member. The BJP also intends to cite the example of the 2G JPC to reject any government offer to set up a similar committee on the coal scam as well.

The BJP has six representatives in the 30-member JPC — Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha, Gopinath Munde, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Dharmendra Pradhan and Harin Pathak.

While the JPC may continue without any BJP members on board, the party’s calculation is that a boycott or en masse resignations will reinforce the corruption allegation against the UPA and render the Prime Minister more vulnerable.

The BJP’s demand for summoning the Prime Minister is based on the premise that he and his office had a critical role in overseeing the implementation of the telecom policy and gave inputs for a controversial 2G note prepared by the Finance Ministry which suggested that Chidambaram, as finance minister in UPA-I, could have insisted on following the auction route.

The Congress’s argument has been that there cannot be a pick-and-choose policy and several NDA leaders would have to examined as well.

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