India’s beleaguered Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whose government is battling allegations of corruption, is now faced with the fury of opposition parties who are accusing him of deceiving Parliament when he denied that Congress party officials bribed lawmakers in an effort to win a confidence vote in July 2008.
BJP leader Sushma Swaraj sent a notice alleging breach of privilege to the Speaker of Lok Sabha against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Sushma Swaraj – BJP leader in the Lok Sabha — sent a notice alleging breach of privilege to the Speaker of the lower house of Parliament against Mr. Singh over his statement last week where he rejected all allegations of bribery. The allegations surfaced in U.S. embassy cables released by WikiLeaks.
According to Parliament’s rulebook, a privilege motion can be moved in the lower house when “a member, with the consent of the Speaker, raises a question involving a breach of privilege either of a member or of the house or of a committee thereof.”
However, it is for the Speaker of the Lok Sabha to decide whether a discussion takes place, explains Subhash C. Kashyap, a historian and former officer of the Lok Sabha.
“If the notice is permitted, the Speaker allows discussion on the floor of the lower house,” he says, adding the matter might be later referred to an investigating committee with the consent of members of Parliament.
The debate, in this case, is not followed by formal voting that might amount to a no-confidence motion against the ruling government, Mr. Kashyap says.
Proceedings in both houses of Parliament were paralyzed Tuesday as opposition parties demanded discussion on Mr. Singh’s statement.
Meira Kumar, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, said the notice was under consideration.
“I will give my ruling on the matter,” Ms. Kumar said without giving a timeframe.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said the allegations against the PM were false.
“Whatever the BJP is saying is inaccurate and there is not an iota of truth,” he said in Parliament.
Professor Chintamani Mahapatra at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University dubbed this a “political strategy” by opposition parties ahead of the state assembly elections.
He said there was no immediate threat to the government.
“BJP is simply trying to convince people how corrupt the Congress party is,” Prof. Mahapatra added.
Fuente: India Real Time