Govt may finally agree to JPC

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New Delhi, Feb 8 (PTI) Signals that Government mayagree to formation of a JPC to probe the 2G spectrum scamemerged today after talks between government and theopposition to break the stalemate in Parliament ahead of theBudget Session.

Coming out of the hour-long all-party meeting convenedby Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, opposition leadersclaimed there was "consensus" on the JPC issue and both thesides were keen that Parliament should function.

"The allies of the government too say they have noproblems with JPC. We have told the government, and I thinkthere is hope, that first government will take a decision,approve formation of JPC and Parliament will functionproperly," Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha SushmaSwaraj told reporters after the meeting.

She, however, said that a formal proposal from thegovernment is yet to come.

Government sources said that as of the moment itcannot be said that the government is open to JPC but if aresolution for formation of JPC is moved a discussion willsuit it.

"The government''s feeling was that the House shouldrun smoothly. When the government is aware that to run thehouse, the opposition wants JPC, then it is natural we feelthat government would agree for JPC," Swaraj said.

Mukherjee, who is also leader of the Lok Sabha, merelysaid it was a "very good" discussion.

The sources said that Mukherjee assured the leadersthat he would get back after consulting the Prime Minister. Anopposition leader quoted Mukherjee as saying no price isbigger than what would ensure smooth functioning of the House.

Opposition leaders said there will be anotherall-party meeting on the eve of the Session beginning February21.

The entire Winter Session was washed out afteropposition parties paralysed proceedings demanding JPC intothe 2G spectrum allocation and the government rejecting it.

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Asked whether the government was finally conceding JPC, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitleysaid the opposition is speaking in one voice and till February21 "our stand will be unanimously for setting up of a JPC".

To a question whether BJP will be ready for adiscussion before formation of JPC, he said "let them agree.

With uncertainty over JPC gone, whether there is debate or nodebate it becomes academic".

Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed said people whobelieves in democracy would like Parliament to function "buta party should not be adamant while finding solutions toproblems."

"Let us sit together discuss and debate any issue thenthe government may decide on the issue, he said.

Asked whether the government is conceding defeat, hesaid this is a hypothetical question and there is nothing likevictory or defeat in democracy.

The meeting saw Opposition leaders ranging from theLeft to the Right emphasising the need to have a JPC forsmooth running of the 3-month long Budget session.

"We have made our point clear to the government. It isnot a question of any retreat of the government or the victoryof the opposition. It is the question of great magnanimity.

Please accept demand for JPC," CPI leader Gurudas Dasguptasaid, adding that he was "very very hopeful about thesituation."

CPI-M Parliamentary Party leader Sitaram Yechury saidtwo things emerged from the meeting. "One is that the Houseshould function and the JPC should be formed. Government willhave to work out a proposal."

Samajwadi Party''s Mohan Singh said there was ageneral consensus on the issue of formation of JPC.

"Government did not say anything but listened to us," he said.

Striking a similar note, CPI''s D Raja said theoverwhelming view in the meeting was for JPC.

"I don''t think government can ignore the viewsexpressed by the political parties. I hope positive solutionwill emerge when we come to Parliament session," he said.

Basudev Acharia of CPM said "we do not agree for votingon a resolution. Government should come forward with aproposal and that should be on the floor of the House."

Today''s meeting convened by Mukherjee was a freshattempt to break the deadlock to ''save'' the Budget session.

Earlier attempts during the Winter session by thegovernment as also Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar had failedand the session had witnessed the longest shutdown inParliament.

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