Is the Rajya Sabha coming in the way of the government’s plans?
It is very clear. Several bills passed by the Lok Sabha are pending in the upper house. The GST bill and the real estate bill immediately come to one’s mind. These two bills have been discussed umpteen times in standing committees over the years. Still, they are stuck. Interestingly, these bills were introduced by the previous government. We are keen to take them forward, but are not allowed to do so.
The government has accused the opposition of using its numbers in the Rajya Sabha to stall business.
If there is any perception in any party that it is gaining by stalling Parliament, I can only feel sorry for it. Jumping into the well of the house, not allowing the house to function and shouting slogans and holding placards may give some the vicarious pleasure of grabbing media space, but it certainly hurts the country and the people.
The opposition says you are getting it back for what you did when the UPA was in power.
It is utter falsehood to say that the BJP stalled Parliament the same way as is happening now. Various corruption scandals during the UPA rule are still fresh in the memory of people. We had to fiercely raise these issues. Is there any one such issue that the opposition can hold against this government? On the contrary, a few parties are bent on making issues out of non-issues just to stall Parliament. That is the difference between what we did then and what is happening now. Also, we fully cooperated in passing major bills. The BJP never politicises the cause of development.
The opposition says Arun Jaitley justified disruption as a legitimate political strategy.
What matters is the credibility of one’s actions. Doing so when the government is non-responsive and brazen is different from doing it when we are more than willing to discuss any issue. Because of what we did, the then government was thoroughly exposed. Now, those obstructing Parliament are getting exposed.
The opposition complains that the prime minister does not adequately reach out to it.
This is absolutely untrue. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has adequately and eloquently responded to all issues raised by the opposition in Parliament. He has attended the all-party meetings I convened ahead of every session of Parliament and assured all parties that the government would never hesitate to discuss any issue. He invited Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh to break the stalemate on the GST bill. Recently, he invited leaders of all parties and listened to them for more than two hours. Modiji is the prime minister of the country. Any political party concerned about any major issue can and should meet him and voice its concern. Did the Congress ever do it?