New Delhi: With Parliament observing a holiday, the BJP and the Congress were locked in a war of words over the CAG report on coal block allocations with Kapil Sibal charging the Opposition with "killing democracy" in its desperation to come to power.

The BJP hit back saying the Union minister belonged to a party which had imposed emergency in 1975.

During the sparring, the Opposition stuck to its demand for cancellation of all the 142 blocks while the ruling party rejected it saying that it would spell disaster for the country's economy and common man.

Holding that the BJP was not bothered about the country's development and only desperate to come to power, Sibal alleged that the "same ideology" that led to assassination of Mahatma Gandhi is now up to "killing democracy".

He also accused Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley of "selective amnesia" by citing a number of reported statements by him and other BJP leaders slamming the CAG in past.

Hitting back, BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said that Sibal is known for lowering the level of the discourse.

"Kapil Sibal is known for taking the standard of debate to the lowest level. Everytime you will see that he has taken the level of discourse to a new low. He has reduced the level of the debate to the lowest level.

"If he is talking about the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, a point which we have always denied and which has been proven by courts of law, then it is not the pursuit of truth that he is indulging in, he is indulging in pure abuse. And for him to compare this and say that we are murdering democracy, I would like to remind Sibal that he is a member of the party which indeed had murdered democracy by imposing emergency in this country in 1975," Sinha said.

Addressing a special press conference at the AICC, Sibal stressed that there was no question of anyone benefiting from coal block allocation as the mineral were never sold and accused the BJP of raking up the issue for no reason because of its desperation to come to power at the Centre before 2014.

"You cannot destroy the entire economic structure? Do they (Opposition) realise the consequences of what they are saying. Those making such demand do not appear to understand the coal sector. If the power and steel plants do not get coal, they will import it.

"Imported coal will be three times costlier. It will lead to costlier power and steel and that will ultimately lead to inflation. Are they not thinking about the country," Sibal asked.

However, the BJP stuck to its demand for the cancellation of coal blocks allocated during UPA rule with party leader Prakash Javadekar saying that the Screening Committee formed by the Centre for making these allotments was only a "facade".

The coal block allocation process was twisted and manipulated... It appears that these bunglings were pre-planned and the motive was to make profits not as a nation but as a party," Javadekar said.

Releasing a set of documents at the AICC briefing, Sibal questioned the transparency of the coal block allocations made during the NDA regime saying the "allocation of coal blocks between 1998 and August 2003 was done without any procedure whatsoever".

The Union minister at the same time promised action when pointed about specific allegations.

"Wherever there is individual culpability based on motivated interests, obviously people must be brought to justice... If there is evidence show it...naturally we will take action. This is the only government, which took action against the ministers as well," Sibal said.

(Agencies)

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