The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Judeo debate cloud on House
- Opposition to press for adjournment motion over cash-on-camera, PSU scandals

New Delhi, Dec. 2: The Opposition is likely to train its guns on the Centre tomorrow and press for a debate on the cash-on-camera scandal and alleged ministerial interference in the functioning of public sector units.

In a meeting convened by CPM leader Somnath Chatterjee this morning, Opposition leaders decided to press for an adjournment motion on corruption, with special focus on the bribe allegedly taken by former minister Dilip Singh Judeo and the vigilance commission report that BJP ministers were using PSUs for personal profit.

The Opposition leaders do not expect the treasury benches to give in to their demand. But they are determined to vociferously press their case even if that means disruption of normal proceedings in the House.

The twin corruption issues are likely to dominate proceedings as there seems to be a consensus among the Opposition. Even the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party leaders, Ramji Lal Suman and Rashid Alvi, attended the meeting.

The proposed plan suits the Uttar Pradesh parties well enough for them to bury differences with the Congress, the Left and smaller Opposition parties. For the Samajwadi, it means the Ayodhya controversy would be pushed to the backburner. For the BSP, it is a great chance to turn the heat on the BJP.

Chatterjee hinted that tomorrow’s floor strategy would maximise co-ordination among the Opposition parties. “We are very keen to continue with the co-ordination inside the House. We want to consolidate it further,” he said.

But there seemed to be some uncertainty about the strategy after tomorrow. “Our strategy will depend on the Assembly poll results from Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh,” said a senior Opposition leader. Should the BJP do well, it is expected to become very aggressive. The Congress is, however, yet to reveal its cards. It even left Chatterjee to convene the meeting although he had met Sonia Gandhi yesterday.

Congress chief Sonia held a separate meeting of Congress parliamentary party leaders as the Opposition floor leaders were meeting in the CPM parliamentary party office.

Congress chief spokesman Jaipal Reddy did not throw light on what happened at Sonia’s meeting. The party will wait until poll results are out on Thursday to finalise its floor strategy.

Reddy, however, spelt out the Congress agenda. Along with the rest of the Opposition, it will go on the offensive on the twin corruption issues. “We have decided to table an adjournment motion on corruption getting more and more rampant and naked in the NDA government,” Reddy said. The party will demand an explanation from the Prime Minister.

The Congress also indicated its aggressive intentions on the stamp scam. Reddy said the Centre owed the House an explanation on the lapses at the Nashik government security press. He dismissed suggestions that Sushil Kumar Shinde’s government was shying away from a CBI probe. “The matter is before Bombay High Court,” he said.

Reddy said Ayodhya remained a priority issue for the Congress. He indicated the party was unhappy with the way the Mulayam Singh Yadav government was speaking in multiple voices on its demand to revive the criminal conspiracy case against deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and other BJP leaders.“We want a discussion on the issue. (But) the method is not clear,” he said.

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