Silence will hurt,choose side: BJP to Cong allies

ROW OVER COAL BLOCKS: Won’t give govt an escape route through a debate,at times obstruction in House benefits country: Jaitley

Written by Ravish Tiwari | New Delhi | Published: August 26, 2012 2:52:24 am

Claiming that its strategy of “obstruction in Parliament” had got people across the country discussing “the corruption of the Congress-led government”,the BJP today urged non-Congress parties to “shed ambiguity” over their stance against the Congress and decide “which side they are on in this battle against corruption”.

“This is a battle against corruption. Every opposition party and ally of the UPA,in fact,all political parties will have to take a decision which side they are on in this battle against corruption,” Arun Jaitley,Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha,said at the BJP office.

The remarks clearly indicate that there is an attempt by the BJP to rally all opposition parties,bring them together on a common platform and corner the government on the issue of alleged corruption in allocation of coal blocks. Most opposition parties have so far refrained from jumping into the well of the two Houses of Parliament to attackthe government on this issue.

Jaitley also tried to divide the UPA on the matter,asking partners and outside supporters like SP and BSP to take a call on ties with the Congress on the issue of corruption.

“Choosing to maintain silence (on the coal block allocation matter) will amount to inviting greater political damage,” Jaitley reminded UPA allies.

The call to non-Congress parties came after he announced that the BJP was ready for a long confrontation with the government over the CAG report on coal block allocations and was not looking to exit its strategy.

“It is good that a discussion against corruption has begun in the country though it is not taking place in Parliament. Our strategy does not permit us to allow the government to use Parliament (for debate) without being held accountable… we do not want to give government an escape route through debate,” Jaitley said.

In fact,he highlighted the merits of obstructing Parliament to force a nationwide debate. “There are occasions when obstruction in Parliament brings greater benefit to the country. We want the debate in public to go on further,” he said.

“Kapil Sibal propounded the zero-loss theory in the 2G spectrum case… It was a bitter experience for him. He had to eat his words… Finance Minister P Chidambaram has not learnt lessons from Sibal,but has sought to extend that theory. Chidambaram’s logic is preposterous,to say the least,” Jaitley said.

Maintaining that there was a “huge opportunity cost” which the government had lost,he said: “Once the coal blocks are allotted to private parties,the right to mine lies with the allottees and not with the Government of India. Even without actual mining,the government has lost control over these mines.”

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