Govt appears willing to JPC now

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New Delhi, Feb 14 (PTI) Amid hints that the governmentcould agree to a JPC probe into 2G scam, the Union Cabinet maydiscuss the issue tomorrow when it meets to consider thePresident''s address to Parliament on the opening day of BudgetSession on February 21.

The Cabinet is meeting primarily to approve thePresidential address to the joint sitting of Parliament inwhich government comes out with its policies for the year andviews on various topical issues.

During the meeting, the Cabinet is also likely to take aview on the JPC issue that has been the cause for a stand-offbetween the government and the opposition and led to thewashout of the entire Winter Session of Parliament.

The government, which has so far resisted setting up ofJPC, is now understood to be ready to announce it but notbefore a discussion is held in Parliament over the issue ofcorruption.

The issue is understood to have been discussed today atthe Congress Core Group meeting, chaired by party PresidentSonia Gandhi.

After the meeting, the Congress gave indications that itmight not be averse to a JPC to probe the 2G scam if theopposition is ready for a prior debate and agree to modalitiesfor such an inquiry.

"Democratic institutions must be allowed to function...

What modus operandi ...it is for the Government and theopposition to work it out," party spokesman Manish Tewaritold reporters.

He said Congress has been consistently demanding adebate in Parliament on the issue.

"Opposition should not run away from a debate. The demandfor a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe should not become asubterfuge to run away from debate. Debate on the floor of theHouse is a fair, legitimate and just demand", he said.

A senior Congress leader, on condition of anonymity,said if the cost of running Parliament is JPC, then let it be.

But if at all a JPC is to be conceded, it should not bepreceding a debate in Parliament.

He said while no decision has been taken by the rulingdispensation on the JPC issue, the same depended upon theattitude of the opposition on the terms of reference as alsoprior debate.

The ruling party also wants to keep the S-band issueaway from any such probe claiming that it is "no scam".

The Congress is keen that such a probe covers theBJP-led NDA''s stint in power and is claiming that the mainopposition will have a lot to answer. The CBI summons to ArunShourie, former Telecom minister in the NDA rule, is beingcited by the ruling party.

With the entire Winter Session going waste over the JPCissue, ruling circles feel that a section of the oppositioncould still disrupt Parliament even if a JPC is agreed to.

PTI MS SPG AMR AKK

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