New Delhi: The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) meeting, which will be held in the national capital on Thursday to adopt the draft report on 2G spectrum allocation scam, is expected to be a stormy affair with the Opposition planning to corner the panel's chairperson PC Chacko over clean chit to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram. Sources said the Opposition might also force a vote on the controversial draft report.
In the 30-member JPC, the Congress has 11 members and the NCP has one MP who is expected to go with the government. The Samajwadi Party (SP) MP and the two Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) members might also vote with the government, bringing the numbers to a comfortable 15. The government is also hoping that the AIADMK will either abstain or go with the government. The M Karunanidhi-led party's dilemma is it cannot be seen on the same side as arch rival the DMK, whose A Raja is the prime accused in the scam. Hit by the present turmoil, the Trinamool Congress could also abstain. Its lone MP has written to the JPC saying he won't be able to attend Thursday's meeting.
The Opposition MPs in the panel comprise six BJP members, the JD(U), the BJD and the two Left MPs. Besides, Rule 262 of the Rules of Business of the Lok Sabha says that in case of a tie, the chairperson will have a second casting vote.
CPI(M) leader Gurudas Dasgupta has made it clear that he will oppose the draft report. "I shall definitely oppose the report. The draft report was prepared by the chairman without trying to get a consensus," he said. Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress is already taking on the BJP. "The BJP is making a political point in demanding the presence of the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister," said party MP Saugata Roy.
The Opposition MPs in the JPC are expected to meet yet again before Thursday's meeting as an earlier meeting on Tuesday proved inconclusive. The BJP has been demanding that the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister should depose before the JPC.
On Wednesday, BJP leader Yashwant Sinha wrote his third letter to the Prime Minister asking him to respond to serious charges levied by Raja before the JPC through a letter and documents supporting his claims. In his previous letters, Sinha had said any hesitation on his part to appear before JPC will prove that he has "something to hide". Earlier, Sinha told CNN-IBN that the BJP was considering coming out with its own report on the 2G scam. He said the BJP was working with all like-minded elements within the JPC to ensure that the draft report was not adopted on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Chacko said he would suggest that any member, wanting to give dissent note, would be free to do so and it would be appended in the report when it is tabled in Parliament. He said he will "try to make them (opposition members) understand that voting is not a precedent. It is not normally done". He, however, added that rules provide for voting and "if they insist, then we may have to go for vote".
Sources said on Thursday that the BJP and the Left were expected to raise the Jet-Etihad deal at the JPC meeting.