India parliament deadlocked over coal report

A truck full of coal at an open-cast coal mine in eastern Indian state of Jharkhand.
Image caption India is one of the largest producers of coal in the world

India's parliament is deadlocked over the main opposition party's demand that the prime minister quit over a recent report that the country lost $33bn (£20bn) by selling coalfields cheaply.

The Bharatiya Janata Party is demanding that Manmohan Singh should resign since he was leading the coal ministry then.

The government auditors in their report last week said coalfields were allotted without auction from 2005 to 2009.

The report by the independent auditor has, however, exonerated Mr Singh.

Mr Singh has offered to make a statement in parliament on the government's position.

The parliament was deadlocked for a third day on Thursday with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) saying that nothing short of Mr Singh's resignation would satisfy them.

The ruling Congress party defended Mr Singh and said there was "no question" of his resignation.

"The prime minister's image is very clean. Nobody turns [into] an accused or delinquent only by BJP's allegation," party spokesman Rashid Alvi said.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said the BJP was "running away" from parliament and avoiding a debate on the issue.

India is one of the largest producers of coal in the world.

The auditor's report on the sale of coal is the latest in a series of financial scandals to hit the Congress-led government and the revelations have caused anger among the opposition politicians and citizens alike.

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