Demand for PM's resignation stalls Parliament

Parliament was unable to function again today amid ruckus in both houses as the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Left parties vociferously demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and law minister Ashwini Kumarover various scams during the United Progressive Alliance regime, and particularly the coal block allocations issue.

ParliamentAs soon as both the Houses of Parliament assembled for the day, BJP members started shouting slogans over the coal blocks and other issues. The BJP MPs demanded that the Prime Minister should quit for allegedly trying to cover up scams.

The Parliament Standing Committee report on coal block allocations was tabled in the Lok Sabha amidst the uproar, with BJP MPs continuing to shout 'PM must quit' slogans. Following this the Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 2 pm, while the Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day.

The BJP had earlier given notices for suspension of Question Hour in both the houses.

At its parliamentary party meet held on Tuesday, the BJP had decided that its MPs will continue to press for the removal of the Prime Minister and the law minister for allegedly vetting the Central Bureau of Investigation's report on coal block allocations before it was presented to the Supreme Court.

"Today, the BJP parliamentary party has decided that the prime minister should resign and law minister should be removed in the light of the series of scams and the brazen way in which the government has sought to suppress the truth from coming out," party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters.

The Left parties also demanded Prime Minister's resignation, with Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta saying, "On a number of occasions he has been found wanting. He has not done what should have been done to protect the nation's interest."

The government meanwhile debunked the demand for PM's resignation.

"There is no basis to BJP's demand for PM's resignation," parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath said.

Congress president and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi dismissed the demand for the resignation of the Prime Minister.

"Let them ask" was the terse response of Gandhi when approached by reporters on the issue after a meeting of the Congress core group headed by her.

Meanwhile, JPC report on the 'coalgate' scam observes that no bidding process was held for coal allocations. Though this is not binding on the government, the report recommends that those involved directly or indirectly should be investigated.

It also says that all coal mine allocations where production is yet to be begin should be cancelled. The report does not name a presumptive loss figure, however.