Should the Congress agree to a JPC probe?
With parliament still deadlocked, does it make sense for the Congress to bow to opposition demands and set up a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the alleged telecoms scam?
If the government does agree to such a probe — and a few allies already think it should — it may well be in for a prolonged period of uncertainty.
A JPC in which the ruling party is in a minority and has to depend on mercurial parties for support will be a loaded gun.
Pulling the trigger may mean putting the Prime Minister in the dock.
Granting the JPC, however, may convince the people of the government’s intentions of coming clean.
The JPC makes sense if it manages to clear up the murky dealings between the politicians, the bureaucrats, the industrialists and the media.
But is there a guarantee it will serve the larger good without becoming hostage to political interests?
And if the government does hold out till the end of the winter session, the opposition may take the fight to the streets or battle it out in the TV studios.
But sustaining the interest of the people and even the scam-sniffing media till the budget session in February may be a tall order — the first whiff of a larger food scam is already in the air.
The downside to not conceding a JPC — the opposition may still be confronting the government in the budget session. Again, that is predicated on the opposition’s fragile tactical unity.
Should the government choose the lesser evil?