New Delhi: Congress on Tuesday dared BJP for a debate in a public forum on the coal controversy but refrained from coming to the defence of party MPs who are facing the heat for alleged irregularities in coal block allocation.

"We are ready to discuss it in any public forum. Let BJP come forward if it has confidence. We can debate in any public forum and the truth will come out. People of the country will decide whose faces are blackened with coal," Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said.

He, at the same time, refused to come to the defence of individual leaders of the party when asked about controversies involving party MPs Naveen Jindal, Vijay Darda and former minister Santosh Bagrodia over the coal block allocations.

"If there is a question related to anyone's business, it can be better answered by the person concerned himself," he said.

Tewari appeared dismissive of reports that one of the coal allottees Manoj Jaiswal has in one document referred to "one Jaiswal of Kanpur" as the person who will settle disputes if any among partners.

"Whether there is only one Jaiswal, who is living in Kanpur or there are many Jaiswals living there, it can be better answered through the census book.

"But the larger question is that a bundle of lies is being doled out. My question is whether any new coal block was allocated after 2008 (after Sriprakash Jaiswal became Chief Minister). Baseless allegations are being levelled," he said.

Tewari said that since the BJP is facing tough questions by people for the washout of the Monsoon session, it is resorting to these allegations to divert attention.

"If the BJP was so confident of its facts, why did it run away from a debate in Parliament. They knew a debate would expose them," he said.


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