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House arrest: BJP to boycott Chidambaram

In a move that threatens to severely disrupt the winter session of Parliament – beginning Tuesday – the BJP-led NDA has decided to boycott home minister P Chidambaram in the House. This could lead to another frozen session at a time the government aims to clear 31 bills including the

Some of these bills are seen as crucial to rejuvenate a sluggish economy and undo the perception of the government’s policy paralysis.

The opposition will also bring two adjournment motions in Lok Sabha on Tuesday: the BJP on black money and the Left on price rise.

The two opposition camps will support each other on the adjournment motions. But the Left has distanced itself from Chidamabaram’s boycott.

Demanding Chidambaram’s resignation, BJP’s deputy leader in Rajya Sabha SS Ahluwalia said: “Chidambaram was equally responsible for the 2G scam as was A Raja.”

“It is time they get out of this vicious cycle of disruptions and join hands at least a little in the task of passing significant legislations, and hence nation-building,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi shot back.

A Congress core committee meeting on Monday put its entire weight behind Chidambaram.

The 2010 winter session was a complete wash-out over the opposition’s demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee on 2G scam. In the last session too, the government could just introduce 14 bills against the target of 32 and managed to pass only 10 out of the planned 35 bills.

In this session, the government is keen to pass the Lokpal Bill, the whistleblower’s bill and the judicial accountability bill to emphasise efforts to curb corruption along with some key reforms bills like pension fund authority and LIC bill.

The hardening of BJP’s position on the home minister comes at a time when investigative agencies have linked the Sangh Parivar to terror cases, including the Samjhauta Express blast.

Also, the NDA itself has been sucked into the 2G spectrum controversy, with the CBI zeroing in on the role of the telecom ministry when Pramod Mahajan was the minister.

The hardened stand of the BJP also brings back the stormy relation between the two sides in the UPA’s initial years when the opposition boycotted ministers like Lalu Prasad on the allegation that they are “tainted”.

The BJP also pointed out that the Congress had boycotted defense minister George Fernandes over coffin scam during NDA rule.