In an embarrassment for Congress, its key UPA ally – Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has also demanded calling A Raja as a witness, saying that it is only fair to listen to a person who has been blamed in the draft report.
    
By demanding that Raja be called as a witness, it has joined Opposition parties, including BJP, the Left, DMK and JD-U over the issue.
    
"It is the opinion of the party. We have registered our opinion to the JPC. But we do not wish to make it into an issue. We have told the committee our stand," the sole NCP member in the panel YP Trivedi said.
    
Senior DMK member and sole representative of his party in the Committee, TR Baalu, while demanding that the former Telecom Minister be called as a witness, has also demanded examining fresh documents before adopting the report.
    
Raja was a Cabinet minister in UPA government from DMK quota. JD-U, which has two members in JPC, said on Thursday that while it favours calling Raja as a witness, it is against calling Prime Minister before the panel - a demand made by BJP and the Left.
    
NCP chief Sharad Yadav, who is also a JPC member, said that he ‘may not be able to attend’ Friday's meeting as he came to know about the date after his programmes in Bihar were already chalked out.
       
Battle lines have been drawn for the meeting as BJP and Left members are all set to oppose the draft report by either giving strong notes of dissent or even demanding a vote.
     
The Committee has 12 members of the ruling UPA – Congress (11) and NCP (1). Among its outside allies, SP has one member and BSP two.
    
Opposition camp has BJP (6), BJD (1), TMC (1), CPI (1), CPI-M (1), DMK (1) and AIADMK (1). JD-U, which broke away from BJP, has two members and the party's stand will be crucial.
    
Besides, there is one Nominated member from the Rajya Sabha. The JPC has 20 members from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha.
    
The panel has not been able to meet for a host of reasons since April when the draft report was circulated to the members.
    
The term of the JPC was recently extended till the end of the Winter Session of Parliament. This was the sixth extension to the JPC, which was set up in March, 2011.

(Agencies)

Latest News from India News Desk