Opposition wants govt. response on Baalu issue before May 5

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New Delhi, Apr 29 (UNI) The government will make an announcement in the Rajya Sabha today on when it would give a response on the allegations against Shipping Minister T R Baalu of misusing office to favour his family in gas allocation.

The issue was raised after the Question Hour by Ms Sushma Swaraj of the BJP who demanded to know when the government would come out with a response as promised yesterday.

Dr Murli Manohar Joshi (BJP) wanted to know if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would give a statement on the issue.

Before the Zero Hour began, Ms Swaraj said the Leader of the Opposition (Jaswant Singh) had raised the issue yesterday and demanded a statement from the government. The government had said it would come out with a ''response shortly.'' Ms Swaraj said the response should be given today only because tomorrow the Finance Bill would be discussed in the House and later the House would not function till May 4 because of holidays.

That would mean the issue would be discussed only on May 5 and that would be very late, she said and added that the government should respond today.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V Narayansamy said the government would announce today itself when it would come out with a response.

Not convinced, the opposition members objected and wanted the response today. However, Deputy Chairman Rahman Khan said the government had assured that they would inform the House about the date today. ''Let us wait till then,'' he added.

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