Accepting the BJP leader's challenge, Digvijay Singh on Sunday, Aug 26 stated, "I am ready for an open debate with Swaraj."
The leader of the opposition in the House, Mrs Swaraj earlier had invited Singh for an open debate on the issue of coal scam as Singh along with Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal hurled many allegations against the BJP over the same issue.
Singh's statement surfaced just a day before the prime minister Manmohan Singh broke his silence for the first time in the House over CAG report on coal scam.
The PM in his statement claimed, "I wish to say that any allegations of impropriety are without basis and unsupported by the facts. I seek the indulgence of the House to make a statement on issues regarding coal block allocations. I want to assure honourable members that as the then minister in charge, I take full responsibility for the decisions of the ministry."
The opposition parties in both houses of the Parliament - Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha did not allow the PM to clarify his stand and thus he submitted his statement to the speakers and later communicated with the media outside the House on Monday.
BJP leaders claimed that they would not allow the Parliament to continue its functions until and unless the incumbent PM resigns. The controversy began when the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) submitted its report which claimed that coal blocks allocation between 2005 and 2009 led to a loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore to the national exchequer.
The CAG report, which was tabled in the Parliament on Aug 17, did not indict the Prime Minister Office (PMO) but scrutinised the period between 2005 to 2009 when Manmohan Singh was the coal minister.
The report named 25 companies including Essar Power, Hindalco, Tata Steel, Tata Power and Jindal Steel and Power which have got the blocks in various states. According to the report, nearly 44 billion tonnes of coal were given away at throwaway prices to private companies and 194 coal blocks were allegedly allotted to companies on mere recommendations.