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PM’s statement on Wiki cables to be debated in House today

New Delhi(IANS):After persistent demands by the opposition, the government on Tuesday agreed to hold a discussion in the Rajya Sabha on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement on the WikiLeaks expose over the cash-for-votes scam.

According to official sources, the discussion would be held in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday as Chairman Mohammad Hamid Ansari has listed it in the afternoon.

“The chairman has accepted the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) notice (demanding the discussion) and it will be taken up after 2pm,” said a source.

However, no decision has yet been taken on the notice for a privilege motion by the BJP against the prime minister accusing him of breach of privilege for misrepresenting facts about the findings of the parliamentary committee which probed the cash-for-votes scandal.

The prime minister, speaking last week in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, rejected the allegations that the Congress bribed some opposition MPs to save the government from collapsing during the trust vote in July 2008 during the previous tenure of the United Progressive Alliance.

Denying any wrongdoing as stated in the “unverified and unverifiable” WikiLeaks cables published in The Hindu, the prime minister said: “Nobody from the Congress or the government engaged in any unlawful act…The committee (that probed the scandal) had concluded there was insufficient evidence to draw any conclusion of bribery.”

The BJP said the statement was contradictory to the findings of the committee.

Before the government’s nod for the discussion, the WikiLeaks revelations rocked parliament Tuesday with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) staging a walk-out in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha being adjourned for the day after opposition members and treasury benches hurled allegations against each other.

The Lok Sabha witnessed noisy scenes as opposition leader Sushma Swaraj raised the issue.

The Rajya Sabha saw three adjournments till 2 pm before being adjourned for the day as members from both opposition and ruling benches raised the pitch against each other.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley slammed the government for refusing a discussion, saying the government had lost the confidence to rule.

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