WikiLeaks expose may disrupt Parliament

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Indian Parliament
New Delhi, Mar 21: The cash-for-vote scam is expected to cast its shadow on Parliament tomorrow with the BJP planning to move a privilege motion against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for allegedly misleading both Houses over the WikiLeak expose.

Some Congress MPs are contemplating moving a breach of privilege notice against Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj for allegedly defying Speaker Meira Kumar last week over the issue.

Discussion over the Finance Bill is scheduled in the Lok Sabha tomorrow while Rajya Sabha will take up a calling attention on nuclear safety in India in the wake of recent disaster in Japan.

Parliament will meet tomorrow after an extended holiday for Holi festival. Government sources fear that the proceedings tomorrow could be thrown out of gear in case of fresh uproar over the WikiLeak issue.

In such a scenario, the Congress members could also utilise the opportunity to hit back at BJP over its "double standards" on the issue of Indo-US nuclear deal as revealed by WikiLeaks cables of 2008.

On the cash-for-vote scam, an assertive Prime Minister hit back at the opposition last week for raising "old charges that have been debated, discussed and rejected by the people of India."

After the statement, BJP said it will move a privilege motion against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for "misleading" Parliament by saying that no bribe was paid to MPs, which, it alleged, was contradictory to the findings of the Parliamentary probe committee.

"The Prime Minister and the UPA Government were principal beneficiaries of cross voting... The Prime Minister says he was not aware (of bribe being paid). But he is definitely a beneficiary. Under the law of jurisprudence, being a beneficiary of this offence he is equally liable," Swaraj had said.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has already dismissed charges that the Prime Minister has committed any breach of privilege, insisting that "no part of the statement is incorrect."

The notice for calling attention in the Rajya Sabha on nuclear safety in India has been given by several members including D Raja (CPI) and Rajiv Pratap Rudy (BJP).

The Prime Minister has already said that he has ordered an immediate technical review of India''s atomic plants to check if they can withstand the impact of major natural disasters like tsunami and earthquakes in the wake of the catastrophe in Japan threatening a nuclear meltdown.

The Finance Bill will be put for vote on Wednesday. This is the last week of the Budget session which will conclude on Mar 25.

PTI

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