x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

India's opposition calls on PM Singh to resign over coal scandal

Manmohan Singh, who has seen his reputation as "Mr Clean" damaged by a string of scandals in his second term in government, served as acting coal minister from 2004-2009.

NEW DELHI // India's opposition vowed yesterday to block parliamentary proceedings until the prime minister resigned over a coal scandal, raising the prospect of more legislative deadlock and stalled reforms.

Manmohan Singh, the prime minister, was implicated by the national auditor in a report published last Friday that suggested the government had lost out on billions of dollars of revenue by gifting away coal mining rights.

Mr Singh, who has seen his reputation as "Mr Clean" damaged by a string of scandals in his second term in government, served as acting coal minister from 2004-2009.

Arun Jaitley said his opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would obstruct parliamentary proceedings until the 79-year-old premier took personal responsibility and stepped down.

"Parliamentary obstructionism is normally to be avoided, but in rare cases parties do adopt it," Mr Jaitley said as both houses of parliament were adjourned for the second day in row.

"The prime minister must accept his culpability."

The disruption in parliament comes as India's economy is faltering, with investors and business leaders looking for decisive action from the under-fire government to restore confidence and spur expansion.

Sonia Gandhi, the president of the ruling Congress party, is expected to stand by her premier.