The CAG report on the Commonwealth Games, which has indicted the PMO and the Sheila Dikshit government in Delhi for overlooking irregularities in the conduct of the event, threatens to intensify the confrontation between the Manmohan Singh government and the Opposition.
Both the BJP-led NDA and the Left have made it clear that they would insist on the suspension of proceedings in the two Houses on Monday to allow them to rake up the issue. The BJP is likely to demand a statement from the government on Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Ajay Maken’s charge that the decision to appoint Suresh Kalmadi as the CWG Organising Committee chief in his capacity as the IOA president was, in fact, taken during the NDA rule.
The CAG’s report came at a time when the Congress-led UPA had cut a deal with the Opposition to allow the two Houses of Parliament to conduct normal business in the rest of the session. The pact saw the Lok Sabha taking up a discussion on price rise, and the Upper House debating the internal security situation.
The CAG report, which highlighted large-scale irregularities in the conduct of the Games, has once again pitchforked the issue of corruption back into the political centrestage, putting the Congress, and the governments led by it at the Centre, and in Delhi, on the defensive.
The Congress has, for the moment, decided to brazen it out, dismissing demands for resignation of the Delhi chief minister. With the roles of the PMO, a few ministries of the government and almost all civic agencies coming under the audit watchdog’s being singled out for criticism by the audit watchdog, the party has no option but to stand by Dikshit.
Accepting the Opposition’s demand and sacrificing the Delhi chief minister, its leaders realise, would be tantamount to admitting the guilt of other agencies. The Opposition, however, is set to seize on the issue to put the government on the mat.
The report will go to the PAC, which is headed by senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi. If the Samajwadi Party and BSP representatives on the panel decide to pitch in their lot with the Opposition, the ruling side could be in for a tough time. With elections inUP approaching, the two parties have in the past few weeks shown signs of gravitating to the other side.
The CAG report on the CWG, and its fallout, figured in the meeting of the BJP’s core group on Sunday. “For the last few days, several corruption-related issues have come up. All such issues were discussed to finalise the party’s strategy. Tomorrow morning, at the meeting of the NDA, we will take a final decision on our strategy in Parliament for the week,” BJP deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha SS Ahluwalia said here this evening. Economic Times