Saturday, May 14, 2011

UPA apprehensive over Joshi's second term as PAC chief

Parliamentary affairs minister Bansal says BJP leader reduced PAC into a 'kangaroo court'

New Delhi: Minister for parliamentary affairs Pawan Bansal while agreeing that the re-aapointment of Murli Manohar Joshi as chairman of the Public Accounts Commitee (PAC) is the prerogative of Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, he admitted that the government was apprehensive.

“Given his (Joshi's) approach and mindset, his renomination as Pac chief is a matter of concern,” he said in response to a DNA question whether the government finds itself in trouble now that Speaker Kumar has given Joshi a second term.

The minister took on Joshi one more time on Thursday at a special press conference. He argued that Joshi was wrong to go around the country and spread the message that the Speaker will have to accept the PAC report on 2G spectrum allocation scam. He accused Joshi of reducing the PAC to a 'kangaroo court' through his dictatorial ways. “He should have summoned the newly-elected PAC and taken up the issue of the report,” Bansal said.

He conceded that the Speaker has followed the parliamentary convention of appointing a member from the main opposition – the BJP. He explained the process: the Speaker takes the decision after consulting the leader of the opposition. He had also agreed that it was the Speaker's call whether she should accept or reject the report. He had however stuck to his guns that the report is not a report because it has not been formally examined and adopted by the PAC.

Bansal argued that even if there are conflicting views whether the 11 PAC members – who belonged to the Congress, the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) -- had the right to reject the report, he says that Joshi should not have sent the report before the commitee had formally gone through it paragraph by paragraph and had adopted it. He contends that Joshi did not observe the procedure of adopting the contentious report. “The procedure that is generally followed was not followed,” he said.

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