Parties vie to be part of the huge JPC circus

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PM Manmohan Singh
New Delhi, Feb 23: After the UPA government succumbed to the pressure to initiate a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the multi-crore 2G spectrum scam, the Opposition and other parties are breathing easy at least for the moment. But now there is more trouble on the anvil on the number of parties who want to eat the giant JPC pie.

After sources within the government claimed that the committee was going to be “broad-based" with fair representation from various parties. Sources have hinted that a 21 member JPC will look in to the various cases related to the 2G spectrum scam. But now regional parties, like the AIADMK and NCP also want to participate in the probe. These parties' presence in the probe will depend on the stake they hold in the cabinet.

The Parliament witnessed a distraught looking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh finally conceding to a JPC demand from the Opposition and its allies. But, it seems like all parties want a spot under the JPC arch lights. AIADMK leader M Thambidurai made a passionate appeal in the Parliament to the PM on letting most regional parties be part of the JPC so that they would not feel neglected. The NCP has also warranted, in its capacity as a strong ally of the UPA, that all parties in the coalition should be represented.

While no decision has been taken as yet on who the Chairman of the JPC probing committee would be, names of Congress leaders P C Chacko and V Kishore Chandra Deo are doing the rounds. While strong rumours of BJP deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha S S Ahluwalia and CPI(M) Politburo member Sitaram Yechury representing the opposing panel in the probe are also being heard.

The proposed 21 member panel will ideally have 14 members from the Lok Sabha and seven members from the Rajya Sabha, which could mean that a maximum of seven to nine parties out of the total of 37 parties can be a part of the probe.

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