Opposition targets govt on missing coal files, scuttles Food Bill


New Delhi: An aggressive opposition on targeted the government and paralysed Parliament over the issue of missing files related to the coal block allocations, in turn scuttling the consideration of the much-touted Food Security Bill.
Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha saw heated exchanges over coal files, with the Opposition pressing for a statement by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, disregarding an explanation by Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal.
In the Rajya Sabha, Jaiswal said no stone would be left unturned in tracing the documents to be provided to the CBI and he was ready to accept any punishment if found guilty. At the same time, he posed a challenge to Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley asking as to what punishment he would undergo if the case was otherwise.
The opposition, while pressing for a statement by the Prime Minister, asked Jaiswal to recuse himself from replying for the sake of ‘propriety’ as the missing files reportedly relate to a beneficiary of coal block allocation who is linked to the Minister.
Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha, Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj reminded the Government that the Prime Minister had taken ‘full responsibility’ for the decisions of the Coal Ministry in a statement he made in the House on August 27 last year as he had held the portfolio between 2006 and 2009. She wanted the Speaker to direct the Prime Minister to make a statement.
Amid cries of ‘shame-shame’ and ‘pradhan mantri jawab do’, Swaraj alleged that the files including applications for coal blocks had gone missing as some big shots of the Congress were involved.
Congress members from Andhra Pradesh and Rayalseema region along with TDP members were also agitating against formation of Telangana state.
In the process, the Food Bill could not be taken up for consideration on Tuesday, the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

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