Brno, Czech Republic: Accusing BJP of indulging in “opportunism of worst kind”, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma today said it has brought a bad name to the country internationally by sensationalising and exaggerating the coal blocks allocation issue.
“It was for BJP not only expedient politics but opportunism of the worst kind. They have undermined India’s parliamentary democracy and assaulted the dignity of institution and globally brought a bad name to the country by sensationlaising and exaggerating,” he told reporters in Brno.
“We are rule based and rule governed country. There are institutions in place and if there is any violation action follows,” the minister said.
Sharma is in Brno to inaugurate the five-day India show organised by EEPC (Engineering Export Promotion Council) and the commerce ministry.
The Monsoon Session of Parliament was washed out because of disruption by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on the demand for resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the coalgate scam.
Commenting on the role of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) whose report on coal blocks allocation triggered the political storm, Sharma said, “CAG is not supposed to look into the direction of policy formulation or be prescriptive about to the elected government on what policies to follow.”
The constitutional mandate of CAG, he added, “is controller and auditor of the state as to accounts of the Central government, its departments and accounts of the state governments…CAG is not supposed to be peeping in the direction of policy formulation, nor can be prescriptive”.
On why the CAG did not look into allocation of coal blocks during the NDA regime, he quipped “that’s very interesting”.
The minister said there was need to look at how natural and national resources were being utilised by other countries.
“When spectrum was allocated in Amercia and the Europe initially it was done through APM (administered price mechanism) not through auction process,” he added.
According to the minister, “If we have to follow the wisdom of those believe in auctioning every thing then there will be no houses for the poor, no old age homes, no orphanages because land is also a precious national resource.”
In a welfare state, some decisions are to be made in the interest of the people, he said, adding auction would push up the price of electricity by three to four times.
“CAG’s report is a draft report. They have to give a fair opportunity to all the departments involved and then it goes to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). How can we say that one constitutional authority’s draft report or report which has to be scrutinised by the PAC of Parliament, which is a superior body,… is the final report … How can you jump three steps and demolish the institution of Parliament?” the minister questioned.