22 July : Plagued by disgruntled senior leaders going public with their grievances after the Lok Sabha debacle, BJP has sought to placate them with offers of chairpersonship of Parliamentary Committees. “BJP today filed nomination forms of three MPs — Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Gopinath Munde — for membership of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament. The UPA government has offered the chairpersonship of this committee to BJP,” Deputy Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj told reporters at New Delhi on Wednesday. Though election of the chairperson of PAC is scheduled for 6th August as per convention no polling is likely to be held and BJP will choose one of its three MPs for the post. “The BJP has a quota of three Lok Sabha and two Rajya Sabha MPs in PAC in accordance with its strength. Chairperson of PAC is always from the Lower House,” Swaraj said. BJP sources said Jaswant Singh is likely to become chairperson of PAC. Singh, who was Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha before being elected to Lok Sabha from Darjeeling, is keen on holding this post, party sources said. In offering this post to Singh, BJP is giving a go-by to another convention. The PAC is usually headed by Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha. V K Malhotra headed PAC in the 14th Lok Sabha but his successor Swaraj will have to contend with chairpersonship of the Standing Committee on External Affairs. The PAC chairperson gets an office in Parliament building and a staff, among other perks, just like Leaders of Opposition in both Houses of Parliament. Singh, who was Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha till he got elected to the Lok Sabha from Darjeeling, had reportedly shown some initial reluctance to vacate his office in Parliament, making the issue a talking point in the party. Later, during the BJP National Executive held at New Delhi, Singh expressed his anger, saying these reports had hurt him as he had no greed for an office and perks. Singh declared he would not contest any election in future. He also wrote a letter — later leaked to the media — on there being no connection between performance and reward in the BJP. The PAC chairpersonship should cheer up Singh, feel party leaders. It is considered the most prestigious of Parliamentary Committees. The Committee has the powers to examine the audited paragraphs of the CAG reports and summon officials to seek explanations. The PAC then files its reports and tables them in both Houses of Parliament for further discussion and action. Murli Manohar Joshi, another senior leader not on good terms with the BJP top brass, has been offered the chairpersonship of Standing Committee on Finance while Sumitra Mahajan is likely to head the Committee on Rural Development. BJP may appoint other disgruntled party MPs as heads of House and Standing Committees which fall in its share.