Finally the Congress Government agrees for a JPC, could have taken this action long time back

The whole winter session of Parliament was made useless over the controversy about getting a JPC in place for investigating the 2G scam. The Government was adamant over its refusal, making light of the efforts of the various opposition parties in demanding the JPC; the Prime Minister even claimed that he was ready to answer any queries posed by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament. It took some time to puncture that claim, with the PAC finally revealing that forget the Prime Minister, they cannot even call a Minister. All they can do is look at records and call officials (which they have started doing, having interesting meetings where they called the CBI chief, the RBI Governor, and so on – trying to come up with challenges to the front presented by the Government). There was intense speculation that the Prime Minister was evading the JPC since it has the power to question him, and it would be very embarrassing for him to answer the series of questions of why he stood by while A Raja was changing policies to favor a set of corporates and give them a precious natural resource, the 2G spectrum. That Manmohan Singh has no good answers to these questions is very apparent when he gave the interview to newspaper editors and made the acknowledgement that for the sake of keeping the coalition going, there are compromises that need to be made. When the JPC (even one where a Congress MP is the head) asks these questions, what will the PM say ?
So, finally the Congress has accepted that it is far more embarrassing for them if Parliament does not function, especially when the Budget session is underway, and hence the concession by the Government that a JPC will be setup. The opposition parties seemed determined to prevent Parliament from functioning, a rather extreme step, but then in the 2G scam, the Government has only acted when forced to do so.

However, it is not clear whether the setting up of a JPC will really do anything. The CBI was dragging its feet at taking any action, and the Government was not even accepting that there was a problem. It was the sustained media campaign, and then the twin blows of the report by the CAG (which projected 3 difference revenue loss figures, with the highest figure of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore capturing the attention of the public) and the push by the Supreme Court to get into the root of the matter that derailed the campaign of the Congress. The attempt by the new minister, Kapil Sibal, to white-wash the figure and claim that there was no revenue loss only served to reduce his own credibility, and now he is not taken seriously in terms of taking any sort of strong action.
The Supreme Court has been the force that has pushed the Government relentlessly, taking on the garb of the Chief Investigator, and getting the CBI to act. What can be more embarrassing for a Government than the concept that the highest court of the land claims that the CBI will investigate the case without any interference, to the extent that the Government would now be hesitant to try and tweak the working of the agency. The Prime Minister is aware of the heavy dose of public attention that any adverse comments by the court could have on his own credibility (or what is left of it).

1 comment to Finally the Congress Government agrees for a JPC, could have taken this action long time back

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