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Govt may finally agree to JPC

New Delhi: Signals that Government may agree to formation of a JPC to probe the 2G spectrum scam emerged on Tuesday after talks between government and the opposition to break the stalemate in Parliament ahead of the Budget Session.

Coming out of the hour-long all-party meeting convened by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, opposition leaders claimed there was "consensus" on the JPC issue and both the sides were keen that Parliament should function.

"The allies of the government too say they have no problems with JPC. We have told the government, and I think there is hope, that first government will take a decision, approve formation of JPC and Parliament will function properly," Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj told reporters after the meeting.

She, however, said that a formal proposal from the government is yet to come.

Government sources said that as of the moment it cannot be said that the government is open to JPC but if a resolution for formation of JPC is moved a discussion will suit it.

"The government`s feeling was that the House should run smoothly. When the government is aware that to run the house, the opposition wants JPC, then it is natural we feel that government would agree for JPC," Swaraj said.

Mukherjee, who is also leader of the Lok Sabha, merely said it was a "very good" discussion.

The sources said that Mukherjee assured the leaders that he would get back after consulting the Prime Minister. An opposition leader quoted Mukherjee as saying no price is bigger than what would ensure smooth functioning of the House.

Opposition leaders said there will be another all-party meeting on the eve of the Session beginning February 21.

The entire Winter Session was washed out after opposition parties paralysed proceedings demanding JPC into the 2G spectrum allocation and the government rejecting it.

Asked whether the government was finally conceding JPC, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said the opposition is speaking in one voice and till February 21 "our stand will be unanimously for setting up of a JPC".

To a question whether BJP will be ready for a discussion before formation of JPC, he said "let them agree.

With uncertainty over JPC gone, whether there is debate or no debate it becomes academic".

Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed said people who believes in democracy would like Parliament to function "but a party should not be adamant while finding solutions to problems."

"Let us sit together discuss and debate any issue then the government may decide on the issue, he said.

Asked whether the government is conceding defeat, he said this is a hypothetical question and there is nothing like victory or defeat in democracy.

The meeting saw Opposition leaders ranging from the Left to the Right emphasising the need to have a JPC for smooth running of the 3-month long Budget session.

"We have made our point clear to the government. It is not a question of any retreat of the government or the victory of the opposition. It is the question of great magnanimity.

Please accept demand for JPC," CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said, adding that he was "very very hopeful about the situation."

CPI-M Parliamentary Party leader Sitaram Yechury said two things emerged from the meeting. "One is that the House should function and the JPC should be formed. Government will have to work out a proposal."

Samajwadi Party`s Mohan Singh said there was a general consensus on the issue of formation of JPC.

"Government did not say anything but listened to us," he said.

Striking a similar note, CPI`s D Raja said the overwhelming view in the meeting was for JPC.

"I don`t think government can ignore the views expressed by the political parties. I hope positive solution will emerge when we come to Parliament session," he said.

Basudev Acharia of CPM said "we do not agree for voting on a resolution. Government should come forward with a proposal and that should be on the floor of the House."

Today`s meeting convened by Mukherjee was a fresh attempt to break the deadlock to `save` the Budget session.

Earlier attempts during the Winter session by the government as also Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar had failed and the session had witnessed the longest shutdown in Parliament.

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