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Political war between India's ruling Congress and opposition BJP over coal scam


09:13, August 29, 2012

NEW DELHI, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- It's now an all-out war between India's ruling Congress party and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the coal scam, dubbed as "coalgate", even as the impasse in the Parliament entered its sixth day Tuesday.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi this morning hit out at the BJP, saying the main opposition party was holding Parliament to ransom. "The BJP has scant respect for Parliament; it is mocking the people of India. Holding Parliament to ransom and blackmail have become political bread and butter of BJP," Gandhi told Congress' Members of Parliament this morning.

She asked the MPs to attack the BJP and said "we have nothing to hide or to be defensive about" to protest the BJP's disruption of Parliament since it opened for the monsoon session last week. " We must effectively rebut the charges. We should take up the issue and go to the people," she told her party members.

The BJP has been stalling the Parliament's proceedings since last week seeking Prime Minister Manmoahn Singh's resignation over a report by the country's independent auditor, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, that India lost nearly 33 billion U.S. dollars by misselling coalfield between 2005 and 2009, without auction. Singh was also the Coal Minister at the time.

Gandhi's comments came a day after the Prime Minister called the government auditor's report "flawed" and appealed to the opposition to let the Parliament function. "I take full responsibility for the decisions of the ministry. I wish to say that any allegations of impropriety are without any basis and unsupported by the facts," Singh said, amid loud protests in Parliament.

However, the BJP was unwilling to bulge, reiterating Monday evening that it would not accept anything lesser than Singh's resignation and vowed to continue stalling Parliament over the coal scam.

India is one the world's largest coal producers.

Experts have, however, ruled out the possibility of a mid-term poll even though some media reports hinted so, saying the BJP is an "isolated opposition" in the Parliament and other opposition parties like the Left are unwilling to support its agenda to stall Parliament. The general elections are due in 2014.
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