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Congress MPs criticise fielding Pal first in Liberhan debate


Tuesday, December 08, 2009 09:45:20 AM, IANS

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New Delhi: There was some discomfort among Congress MPs over the party's choice to field Jagadambika Pal, an MP from Uttar Pradesh, as its first speaker in the debate on the Liberhan report with a section feeling he should not have been chosen as his name figures in the panel report.


Though party MPs were not willing to speak on record, some said that the choice of Pal gave the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party a handle to embarass the Congress.


"He should not have been fielded," a minister told IANS on the condition of anonimity.


"It was an embarrassing moment for us," he said, adding that the decision to field Pal was taken by the parliamentary party.


Many other MPs in the party also raised questions over the decision. They said if the party had to field an MP from Uttar Pradesh to begin the debate, Nirmal Khatri would have been a better choice.


Asked about the choice of the party nominee, Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said it was for Pal to reply to any question about his role.


The BJP had got a whiff of the Congress' plans to field Pal and had done its homework to nail him during the debate.


When Speaker Meira Kumar invited Pal to speak, BJP MPs asked if he was the same Jagadambika Pal who has been named as a "kar sevak" (volunteer) in the Liberhan Commission report on the Babri Masjid demolition.


In his speech, BJP president Rajnath Singh also cited pages in the report where Pal's name appears.


"I welcome kar sevak Jagadambika Pal," Rajnath Singh said.


Pal, who was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh for three days in February 1998, had to defend himself as no party MP came to his rescue.


Rajnath Singh also noted that Pal had served as a minister in Kalyan Singh government then.








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