November 27, 2010 2:49:09 am
With the Opposition unrelenting on its demand for a JPC to probe the 2G spectrum allocation,Congress MPs sought to put it on the defensive by forgoing their daily allowance for the days when the two Houses of Parliament had not functioned. Though Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal claimed that it was an individual move initiated by party spokesman Manish Tewari,which had been emulated by other MPs,it looked like a well-orchestrated action. For,all party bigwigs,starting with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi had decided not to take their DA due for parliamentary work. A member gets Rs 2,000 a day for attending the session. Bansal said a number of Congress MPs,who recently met him,told him that they did not feel like taking the allowance when Parliament was not transacting any business. He said basically,they were inclined to adhere to the no-work,no-pay norm. He did not disclose the number of MPs who had done so saying the members were still in the process of writing to the presiding officers of the two Houses.The BJP promptly dismissed the Congress move. Party deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha S S Ahluwalia said Bansal would do well to read the rules afresh. He said MPs did not have to claim the DA because once they signed the attendance register,it went straight into their bank accounts. Ahluwalia said it was undesirable to give an impression that MPs were coming to Parliament for just Rs 2,000 a day. Party colleague Prakash Javadekar described the Congress drive as a diversionary tactic and said the ruling party was trying to reduce the Oppositions fight for democracy to a TA-DA issue. In the midst of this one-upmanship,Bansal said the government was making efforts to reach a compromise with the Opposition but added there is no question of a JPC.He sourced the Congress unwillingness to set up a JPC to a clear Opposition design to summon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and some ministers once such a panel came into being. The government,according to him,was prepared to discuss everything in Parliament and if the Opposition so wished,the Prime Minister could respond to the discussion.
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