Questions about coalgate this monsoon
What is the difference between the 2G spectrum and 150 or fewer coal mines’ allocation? Is there wrongdoing in the 2G and a matter of some kind of a perception in the other issue? Is one a pure matter of central discretion, yet with some state satrap’s deep involvement, and the other a question of federal consultation with the states and respect for their opinion? Is political propaganda the prime motive and disruption of Parliament the net result of both questions?
Is the BJP thinking of resigning from the Lok Sabha in the expectation that Parliament could be dissolved and a snap election called or does it realise that this option is far from open because most party MPs would oppose such a course? Even if such action were taken, would the Election Commission be requested to hold by-elections for those seats or constituencies which fall vacant and fill them up before the end of the year?
Since the NDA partners, Janata Dal (United), with nearly 32 MPs from Bihar, Akali Dal and even Shiv Sena reject such a move and let the BJP realise that it would lose whatever advantage it is enjoying of political one-upmanship at the moment.Will this force it to pipe down with its show?
Does a section of the National Democratic Alliance or rather a section of the BJP see an opportunity to taste blood and destabilise Parliament, while a very large majority of MPs on all sides of the two Houses are not bloodthirsty?
Are those who have their political logic and commonsense about elections to legislatures in the near future and Parliament in less than two years, insist on a debate on the prime minister’s statement and acknowledgement of responsibility? Do they feel that they could win the argument or make political capital in the short and long term without the need for a snap election?
Is one section of BJP sensing a Bofors like situation and trying to whip it up and take revenge after the Karnataka scam fiasco? Whatever will be, will be and let it be.
But does the BJP or a part of it believe that it is not a question of cool-headed deliberation but one of grabbing an opportunity to exercise the right of the Opposition to jump into the well and wash out sessions of Parliament?
Will the government fully explain its position before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) when the coalmines allotment issue is taken by it valid? Does the Prime Minister’s statement that CAG’s calculations of loss to the exchequer been notional not real bear scrutiny?After the Supreme Court cancelled 122 2G licences, did the Opposition and the CAG perhaps sense a similar end result? Did an order for an auction by an executive order or a court intervention signal a victory of sorts and give them reason for a high of sorts? The question that several Opposition ruled states were opposed to auction of the coalmines because the need to step up coal production to build up infrastructure, especially power generation, steel production and cement output was thought to be paramount.
If the licences, already given, were to be cancelled, would there be a slide back in infrastructure for years to come even though production in the newly allocated coal mines has yet to begin, but there would be an enormous further delay.
But is that the point or is making political brownie points the mover and shaker of the issue? How long will the rumpus in Parliament continue? The monsoon session will end in early September but will the fireworks of the controversy continue after that with Baba Ramdev and Arvind Kejriwal as well as the BJP picking up the gauntlet on the streets wherever they can?
Lalit Sethi is a senior journalist