The Telegraph
Saturday , June 7 , 2014
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Opposition slices await four parties

New Delhi, June 6: The BJP has sounded the AIADMK on the deputy Speaker’s post and is not averse to the Congress filling up the Opposition leader’s slot, sources said.

The ruling party is also willing to offer the chairs of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the standing committee on finance to the Trinamul Congress and the Biju Janata Dal. But the BJP is not sure how Trinamul would react to such a proposal, the sources added.

The four posts usually go to the biggest Opposition party but an unusual situation has arisen this time because the Congress’s strength in the Lok Sabha has been reduced to 44. The AIADMK is not far behind with 37 MPs while Trinamul has 34 and the BJD 20.

Instead of “allowing” the Opposition to use the posts as anti-government tools, the BJP is viewing them as “means” to build support in the Rajya Sabha, where the party is not in the majority.

In the last Lok Sabha, where the BJP was substantially ahead of the other Opposition parties in numbers, it managed to get all the four posts and put those of the PAC and finance standing committee heads to political use and embarrass the UPA government on several occasions.

Government sources claimed that they were “reasonably sure” of Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK and Naveen Patnaik’s BJD “working in tandem” and strategising together in Parliament — an assessment echoed by an AIADMK source.

But Trinamul’s “attitude”, said a government source, is “unclear”.

If the AIADMK agrees, M. Thambidurai, its parliamentary party leader in the Lok Sabha, is tipped to be deputy Speaker.

The PAC examines accounts to see if they were spent “within the scope of the demand”. The standing committee on finance vets the estimates of ministries and the functioning of public undertakings, giving members a peek into potential scams.


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