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Six BJP members to quit JPC

Party members allege P C Chacko acting more like a Congress member instead of being an unbiased chairperson of the joint House panel

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

After walking out of a meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the 2G telecom scam three weeks ago, six members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have decided to quit the panel, since their demand, to call Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram as witnesses was rejected by JPC chairperson P C Chacko.

BJP members have alleged Chacko was not acting as the chairperson, but more like a Congress member, getting directions from outside the parliamentary committee.

The problem started after BJP members started demanding the Prime Minister and the finance minister be called by the committee on their roles in the 2G spectrum allocation.

Today, when the meeting started, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad told Chacko that he wanted to raise the issue of calling witnesses before RBI Governor Duvvuri Subbarao’s deposition before the parliamentary committee. However, Chacko said the issue would not be discussed in the meeting.

Former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, who is a member, said: “P C Chacko was not acting like an unbiased chairperson, but as a Congress member.

He behaved like a dictator and Ravi Shankar Prasad was not even allowed to speak one sentence. We believe that JPC will be used to cover up the 2G spectrum allocation scam and not to uncover it. If Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the finance minister are not questioned, then BJP members don’t see a point in continuing as JPC members.”

Chacko’s decision to not allow Prasad to raise the issue was questioned by Sinha, Gopinath Munde and Dharmendra Pradhan, but the chairperson refused to change his stand. BJP leaders, then, walked out of the meeting and apprised party president Nitin Gadkari of their plan to resign from the parliamentary committee.

“The BJP members have taken a political decision; it is highly unfortunate that they decided to walk out. The decision to call witnesses will be taken by the majority members but so far no decision has been taken,” Chacko told reporters after the meeting.

First Published: Wed, September 19 2012. 00:31 IST