India fails to break parliament deadlock

NEW DELHI:The Indian government Tuesday failed to end a long parliamentary deadlock as opposition parties refused to withdraw demands for a cross-party investigation in a massive telecoms graft scandal.The alleged scam, which is estimated to have cost the country up to 40 billion dollars, has led to paralysis in the national parliament as the opposition has blocked all business for 13 days.On Tuesday, the speaker of the lower house chaired a fruitless all-party meeting in a bid to end the stalemate.The protesters, led by the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), are calling for a cross-party probe into the sale of telecom licences in 2007-08 at a fraction of their value.The government has refused to agree, stressing that the police and state anti-corruption bodies are both investigating the sales.“All the opposition parties are speaking in the same tone,” leader of the opposition Sushma Swaraj told reporters. “Even now if the government agrees, then we will allow the parliament to function.”Last week, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee made several unsuccessful attempts to persuade the opposition to drop their demand.The telecoms scandal is one of a series of recent corruption claims to hit Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government – Kahleejtimes