New Delhi: Accusing the UPA government of being "arrogant and despotic", BJP leader Arun Jaitley said the onus is on Prime Minister Minister Manmohan Singh to accept the responsibility for the "arbitrary and discretionary" allocation of 142 coal blocks.

In hard hitting comments, the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha also said the Prime Minister's Office should be judged by standards "much harsher" than those which would apply to ministers like A Raja who had to resign over the controversial 2G spectrum license allocation.

Making it clear that BJP was not ready to give up its offensive against the prime minister over CAG report on coal block allocation, Jaitley said suggestions to debate the issue only in Parliament "will put a lid on one of the greatest scandals in Indian history."

"It has been suggested that since the Prime Minister himself was the Coal Minister, we should assume that this decision was fair. The Prime Minister's office is a sacred institution in Indian democracy. It has to be judged by standards much harsher than those which would apply to Ministers(Telecom) like Shri A Raja," Jaitley said in an article released by the BJP.

The BJP leader said that a debate is an essential ingredient of Parliament but so is accountability.

Jaitley said that if the process of allocation by the Prime Minister as a Coal Minister "smacks of arbitrariness it shakes our national conscience. The onus is now on the Prime Minister to accept the responsibility for what has happened."

"Suggestions that the issue should be debated only in the Parliament will put a lid on one of the greatest scandals in Indian history. We, in the Opposition, are not interested in merely the issue being talked out through a one-day debate in Parliament", he added.

In the article, titled "The Allocation of 142 Coal Blocks", Jaitley said "The arbitrary and discretionary allocation of 142 coal blocks is the latest albatross round the neck of the UPA Government. The arrogant and despotic government did not realise when the allocations were made that it would be held accountable for each of these coal block allocations."


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