PM announces decision to form JPC; Oppn says it lacks grace

New Delhi, Feb 22 (PTI) Government finally blinked withPrime Minister Manmohan Singh today announcing the decision toset up a JPC into the 2G spectrum scam but the Opposition saidit lacked grace as it was being blamed for paralyzing theWinter Session of Parliament.

Bowing to the Opposition demand, Singh announced in boththe Houses of Parliament that the government had taken thedecision to form JPC as the country could "ill afford"disruption of the crucial Budget Session of Parliament.

Singh said a formal motion for constitution of the JointParliamentary Committee would be moved soon.

"Our government believed that as all effective steps werebeing taken, we might have been able to persuade theOpposition not to insist on a JPC. We could not succeed inspite of our sincere efforts," he said in an identicalstatement in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

"We can ill afford a situation where Parliament is notallowed to function during the crucial Budget session. It isin these special circumstances that our government agrees tothe setting up of a JPC," he said.

Singh requested Speaker Meira Kumar to proceed with theprocess of formation of the JPC and said a formal motion wouldbe moved soon.

Welcoming the government''s move, Leader of theOpposition Sushma Swaraj thanked the Prime Minister and Leaderof the House Pranab Mukherjee for the decision.

"We should not see this as a victory or defeat. This isa victory of democracy. We should all work together puttingaside any talk of victory or defeat," she said.

Leaders of other parties, including Left, SamajwadiParty and JD(U) also welcomed the decision but said it wasbetter late than never.

However, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya SabhaArun Jaitley said he was "disappointed" over the contents ofthe Prime Minister''s statement as it showed the government haddone everything and the JPC was formed only because Parliamentwas paralysed.

"The issue could have been resolved in a more graciousmanner," he said.

Left parties attacked the Prime Minister for "virtuallyjustifying" that a JPC inquiry into the 2G spectrum scam wasnot required but was accepted by the government only to pacifythe opposition.

CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said, "If this wisdom hadbeen displayed earlier, we would have saved the Winter Session(that was washed out due to protests over demand for a JPCprobe)."

Meanwhile, hectic efforts are on to finalise thecomposition of the JPC which is likely to be 21-member strong.


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