New Delhi: The BJP feels that it has no other means than to disrupt parliament to express its strongest protest against prime minister Manmohan Singh in the wake of the CAG report on coal block allotments.
In parliamentary practice the way to arraign the prime minister is to move a no-confidence motion. But a no-confidence motion is effective only when the vote goes against the government and it is voted out of office. The BJP is aware that it does not have the numbers, that there will be non-NDA, non-UPA parties like SP and BSP which will not vote against the government.
The last time a no-confidence motion was moved against Singh and his government over the India-US civil nuclear deal in 2008 ended up in the cash-for-votes flare-up on the Floor of the Lok Sabha. The BJP was livid with rage as the convoluted sting-operation turned a dud of sorts. The government mustered the numbers and survived. The 2008 no-confidence motion remains a sore thumb for the BJP and it may not want to go that way once again.
When the cash-for-votes issue came up in the House in 2010 in the course of Wikileaks episode, Singh cynically reminded L.K.Advani that after winning the no-confidence motion of 2008, the UPA won the 2009 general election as well.
The demand for resignation is a pressure tactic though it is worded in the moral language. The BJP wants Singh to own moral responsibility for the coal block allotments which favoured private players and caused loss to the public exchequer to the tune of Rs. 1.86 lakh crore. The figure is hazy because CAG officials are not standing by it, but it is enough to drive home the political point that UPA2 is reeling under cases of corruption involving humongous amounts of money.
The BJP is also not happy with the way the joint parliamentary committee (JPC) set up to look into the Rs 1.76 lakh crore loss incurred in the 2G spectrum allocation is going. The committee whose work has reached the final stage is not likely to come out strongly against the government’s indiscretions in the spectrum allocation issue.
A BJP hawk speaking on condition of anonymity said that Singh should go the A.Raja way. Raja had resigned as CBI investigation took off into the 2G spectrum allotment cases. The opposition had forced his resignation in 2010 by disrupting parliament in the Winter Session.
Unless there is a criminal case with regard to the coal block allotments, the parallel between Singh and Raja would not hold. The BJP hopes that the Chief Vigilance Commissioner’s direction to the CBI to probe the coal block allotment issue in Jharkhand will provide the legal ballast against the prime minister.
The Left parties are quite disgusted with the cynicism of the Congress and the government, but they are not yet prepared to join hands with the BJP and NDA to attack the government. The communist parties are demanding a statement from Singh in contrast to the demand for resignation from the BJP.