Cong drops hints of agreeing to JPC on 2G scam

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New Delhi, Feb 14 (PTI) Keen to see that the budgetsession of Parliament commences on a smooth note, Congresstoday gave indications that it might not be averse to a JPC toprobe the 2G scam if the opposition is ready for a priordebate and agree to modalities for such an inquiry.

"Democratic institutions must be allowed tofunction...What modus operandi ...it is for the Government andthe opposition to work it out", party spokesman Manish Tewaritold reporters.

After the Congress top brass including PrimeMinister Manmohan Singh and party chief Sonia Gandhideliberated on the matter at the core group, Tewari said thatCongress has been consistently demanding a debate inParliament on the issue.

"Opposition should not run away from a debate. Thedemand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe should notbecome a subterfuge to run away from debate. Debate on thefloor of the House is a fair, legitimate and just demand", hesaid.

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 asalso prior 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 turning out to be awashout over the JPC issue, ruling circles feel that a sectionof the opposition could still disrupt Parliament even if a JPCis agreed to.

A section of the Congress is even claiming thatconstitition of a JPC is an "exercise in redundancy" as theinvestigations by various agencies have already gone farahead.

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar has convened a meeting ofall political parties on Feb 20 on the eve of the three-monthlong Budget session to make it a smooth affair.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is likely to meet onceagain leaders of various parties ahead of the session toresolve the issue.

Mukherjee had assured the opposition leaders last weekthat he would get back to them after consulting the PrimeMinister.

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