The numbers on his side now, the chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the telecom scam P C Chacko has convened a meeting of the panel for September 23. The sole agenda for the meeting is to adopt the draft report.
The 30-member JPC last met on February 12. Chacko had circulated a draft report ahead of the meeting slated for April 25, but he called it off. The draft report gave a clean chit to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram. However, as many as 15 members, of the BJP, JD(U), CPI, CPM, TMC, BJD, DMK and AIADMK, had submitted memoranda to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar expressing their ‘no-confidence’ in the ‘partisan’ Chacko and seeking his removal. With half the committee against him, Chacko had proceeded to not call a meeting for the adoption of the draft.
On September 4, he secured an extension till the last day of the next session in the Lok Sabha to finish his job.
The renewed government interest can be sourced to the change in the complexion of the panel, with the nomination of Ashok Ganguly, an Independent member of the Rajya Sabha, considered close to the Congress. Ganguly has been brought in as a replacement for Tiruchi Siva of the DMK following the end of his Rajya Sabha term. The motion for the induction of Ganguly was carried through by the government despite stiff resistance by the BJP.
Ganguly’s induction means the Congress now has a near-majority in the committee. Apart from him and its 12 members, it can count on the backing of Yogendra Trivedi of the NCP and the BSP’s Satish Mishra and Dara Singh Chauhan. Shailendra Kumar of the SP too is unlikely to go with the Opposition. Though the JD(U)’s Sharad Yadav and Ram Chandra Prasad Singh are unlikely to go with the Congress, they are not with the BJP either. T R Baalu of the DMK was aligned with the Opposition earlier due to the A Raja factor, but the party has softened its stand towards the Congress after it backed Kanimozhi in the RS