New Delhi: The BJP on Monday asserted it has not given up its demand for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's resignation but would allow Parliament to function only if all the coal block allocations made during the UPA rule are cancelled and a fair, impartial probe is ordered.

BJP leaders denied that there were differences within the party rank and file over Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj's tweet on her conversation with UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi in which she apparently did not emphasise on PM's resignation as a pre-condition for running the House.
"There were two pre-conditions given for a debate in Parliament. This does not mean that the third issue of resignation of the Prime Minister has been given up. In the course of the debate in Parliament, if at all it had taken place, our MPs would have certainly demanded his resignation," Swaraj's Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley told reporters.

The party maintained that cancellation of the coal blocks would in itself be an admission of guilt and a ground for Singh to step down.

"This (Swaraj's offer) also provided an opportunity to the government to provide its bona fide and fairness. The government, by rejecting the very idea of cancelling the coal block allocations, has conclusively demonstrated that it has a vested interest in continuing this arbitrary and discretionary allocation," Jaitley said.

The BJP also maintained Swaraj had aired the party view to Gandhi and there is unanimity in the party on this score.

Gandhi had first called Swaraj on Thursday and the latter put cancellation of coal blocks and fair probe as the conditions. Swaraj had consulted Jaitley and BJP Parliamentary Party chief LK Advani before taking this stand.

Gandhi called Swaraj again on Friday after talking to Singh, who had returned from his Iran tour, and said her demands were not acceptable, sources said.

Jaitley told reporters that since the government has not given any response to these serious allegations levelled by the Opposition in the matter, the stalemate will continue.

He attacked the Prime Minister on his refusal to resign and not cancelling the coal blocks allocated during the time when he held the coal portfolio.

"The Prime Minister has invoked his right to silence. A right to silence is available to an accused in a court. It is not available to a Prime Minister who is the holder of the most accountable office. Accountability and silence cannot co-exist," Jaitley said.

He claimed that if no answers are given then people are entitled to presume that no answers could have been given.

"Dignity of Prime Minister's office will be protected and enhanced if he cancels these allotments to come out clean and not by refusing to answer questions," Jaitley said.

Having taken to the streets on this issue through agitations and public meetings, the BJP is in no mood to tone down its offensive.

The BJP denied that the decision not to press for PM's resignation to run Parliament was taken in view of the party being isolated as others- including allies SAD and JD(U)- insisted that the issue be debated on the floor of the House.

Neither are party leaders ready to accept that the threat of losing Opposition space to SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Left parties and TDP- who have vociferously raised this issue-is the reason.

The party maintains if it is isolated on the issue of corruption then it is "majestic isolation" and it would benefit from it politically.


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