Coalgate: Will PM break his silence on Monday?

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Manmohan Singh
New Delhi: With coal block allocation scam hurting the UPA government, the Opposition is only intensifying the damage by tearing into their arguments and demanding Prime Minister's resignation over his alleged involvement. With the UPA firm on its stand and ruling out PM's resignation, it has been reported that PM will address the nation on Monday and communicate his stand on the issue.

The CAG report on the coal scam had claimed an estimated loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore to the exchequer. The Opposition had stalled Parliamentary proceedings since last few days and demanded PM's resignation and nothing less.

Earlier, all party meeting called by Hamid Ansari had failed to resolve the issue. A fresh all-party meeting is scheduled for Monday and in case no consensus is reached even then, the PM will deliver his address later in the day.

The PM will depart to Iran on Tuesday on a three-day visit to attend the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit. There are also reports that in case he does not address the nation, he will put out his stand on board Air India One to mediapersons.

On Saturday, Finance Minister P Chidambaram has been quoted as saying in a press conference, "We hope on Monday that the Prime Minister is allowed to make a statement. If not, we will have to find a way for the Prime Minister to speak to the country." He also dismissed CAG's presumptive loss on the occasion totalling Rs 1.86 lakh crore in coal block allocations and said, "When the coal is still under Mother Earth, how can there be loss?"

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