Dont dilute JPC demand: BJPs advice for Joshi

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 29 2010, 06:56am hrs
The BJP on Tuesday had a clear message for Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Murli Manohar Joshithat it did not want any break from the precedent that would dilute its demand for a JPC probe into the 2G spectrum scam and weaken its attack over corruption.

Sources said the party's view had been conveyed to Joshiwho sought to keep open Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's offer to appear before his panelat the highest level. A break from the precedent would mean accepting the PM's offer.

Resentment against Joshi had been brewing within the BJP ever since he took the PAC into a pro-active mode on the 2G spectrum issue. Party leaders pointed out that allowing Singh to appear before the PAC would amount to bailing out the UPA government and the BJP does not want it to happen.

Sources said the Sangh also conveyed a similar message to Joshi at the instance of the BJP. The main Opposition did not mince its words while stating its position officially.

Referring to the PM's offer to appear before the PAC, party spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said: The BJP does not want the Prime Minister to break the precedent, it is neither interested in that nor asking him to do so.

We are just asking the Prime Minister to follow the precedentthe precedent of setting up a JPC, which is the demand of the joint Opposition, he said. The message was more for Joshi than the government.

While Joshi kept on hold a decision on the PM's offer, annoying the BJP, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj sought to show him the rule book. Under the Lok Sabha Rules, PAC cannot call a minister, much less the Prime Minister. Prime Minister's offer therefore, has no meaning, she tweeted.

Swaraj further pointed out that the scope of the PAC was totally different from that of JPCas while PAC deals with accounts, JPC deals with accountability and governance. The BJP reaffirmed its position that only a JPC would be qualified to probe the 2G spectrum allocation and reiterated that the PAC's mandate was look into accounting issues based on the CAG report.

In this case, it is not merely an accounting issue. The 2G spectrum is a multidimensional scam and it is related to the issue of governance itself, Rudy said.

Joshi had on Monday asserted that the PAC can go beyond the CAG report. He is chairman of the PAC. I am sure he is aware of his duties, Rudy said when asked about Joshi's statement. He said the 2G spectrum probe must include issues such as the selection of ministers and allocation of portfolios and this can be done only by a JPC.