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Make or break for UPA in JPC today

Make or break for UPA in JPC today
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking him to break the deadlock in the committee. If the JPC, which is headed by Congress member PC Chacko, fails to adopt the draft report prepared by the panel chairman, government would find it difficult to face Parliament.

‘Under the leadership of your party member PC Chacko, the JPC is facing the risk of a complete stalemate if not total destruction. We shall deal with issue in the meeting of the JPC on 25 April,’ wrote Sinha in his letter to the PM. While the BJP has made it amply clear that it will reject the draft report, party leaders have indicated that they were also holding talks with JPC members from other parties asking them to join hands in opposing the report.

BJP sources said that Yashwant Sinha has been tasked to gather support seeking to reject the report. Sinha has been holding talks with members of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Trinamool Congress (TMC), Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Left. It has been learnt that even the Congress party is negotiating with leaders of TMC and BJD to cast their votes in favour of the draft report and the party has already secured the support of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). The BJD has, however, decided to vote against the report. ‘We oppose the way draft has been prepared,’ said Bhartruhari Mahtab, a BJD member.

In the 30 member JPC, the opposition has 14 members on its side as compared to 14 members favouring the ruling party. However, the decisive vote will rest on Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Trinamool Congress, who have a vote each. The party, which has been supporting the government from outside, has taken an aggressive stand on the issue much to the government’s surprise. Saugato Roy of the Trinamool said, ‘We shall reveal our stand in the meeting.’

In case of a tie, the chairman of JPC will have a second vote – the decisive vote. Meanwhile, chairman PC Chacko has said that there has been no precedent of voting in the history of the JPC and, therefore, panel members who are not convinced by the findings of the draft report could give dissenting notes.
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